Back to School Plan: What’s NOT on the School Supply List?

Wouldn’t it be great if all you needed for the back-to-school season were glue and pencils? The most important things you need to consider before your child goes back to school are never on the school supply list. Here are the top 5 things you need to plan for before the first day of school!

  1. Sleep

It is so tempting to enjoy the last few days of summer with fun evening activities and lazy mornings! Unfortunately, that just makes the beginning of school so much more difficult for your child. Plan ahead!

Discuss school bedtimes with your child. Talk about what time school starts, when they have to wake up, and how much time they’ll take to get ready. Include your child in the planning of school mornings. Ask if it’s easier if they pick their clothes out the night before or if they are happy with putting on whatever’s clean and ready? Giving your child a voice helps make routines a little easier to put into practice.

Once you have the morning figured out, work backwards! How many hours of sleep does your child need? Then you’ll be able to set a bedtime together that your child understands. Keep working backwards! Talk about a bedtime routine. Will they take a bath or shower at night? Is there reading time? Figure out their nightly routine and then you’ll both know when they have to start getting ready for bed. It’s important that they don’t think you just made up an arbitrary early number!

Start putting that routine into place now. Nothing ever works perfectly the first time; let them get used to their new schedule slowly.

  1. Nutrition

I included my children in planning healthy breakfasts and lunches. We had a family meeting where everyone made suggestions about what they wanted. We only kept good choices on the list. They know brownies aren’t a healthy choice! You can create a Pinterest board and let them add to it; there are so many great ideas out there.

We created a master list of both breakfasts and lunches and that made packing lunches or making breakfasts much easier. It cut down on planning time, shopping and prep time because I never had to think about what I was making. And it didn’t get boring because there were enough items on each list that we could rotate. Don’t forget a sweet or funny note, that’s the best part!

  1. Study Area/Homework Plan

When you’re thinking about school supplies, think about the area in your home where your child will study too. Ensure that there is plenty of good light, a comfortable chair and all the supplies they need. It’s ideal if it’s within close proximity to you so that you can answer questions or make sure it’s actually homework that they’re doing on the computer. Studies have shown that the color yellow improves memory retention, so consider painting a wall or adding some yellow accents to a study space (legal pads are yellow for a reason!).

While you’re preparing the homework area together discuss homework routines. When will homework need to be completed? Again, discussing the routine ahead of time and mutually agreeing on the best plan makes it much easier to remind them when it’s time to get to work.

  1. Wardrobe

Back to school shopping can be a full-time job if your child is a preteen or teen girl! Over the years, I developed a secret strategy that really helped me. When it came time for back to school clothes shopping, we chose and purchased one great outfit for the first day of school and some basics that I knew they would need.

BUT…I learned that if we purchased all of their back to school clothes before school started, inevitably we were missing whatever the hot item was that everyone HAD to have. So we held back on a few things and went shopping online or the weekend after school started to fill in with just a couple of things that I would consider a splurge. I’m not a big believer in brand names or following the crowd but a couple of clothing items that make your child feel good at school is something I can support.

  1. Friends

There is nothing scarier than the first day of school at a new school, or even just in a new class with different students. You can’t go with them and you can’t pre-arrange a best friend (I’ve seen parents try and it never works out well).

I gave all of my children the same advice before the first day of school: “Be a good friend. Sometimes we are so worried about what people are going to think about us that we struggle to think about others. Look for children that seem shy or lost and invite them to sit with you. Think about how you could make the first day of school better for one other person and you will have made a new friend.”

With a little planning before the first day of school, your child will be off to a great start! Help them be their best with these tips and you’ll both be happier when the school bus pulls up in front of your home!