As the days get shorter and temperatures begin to cool, this time of year finds parents and their kids occupied with preparations for the upcoming school year.
There are many different back-to-school concerns for parents to consider, especially for those with younger children.
For example, what supplies and clothing needs to be purchased? What summer habits from your kids aren’t going to work during school season? Are there opportunities to improve areas that can streamline the morning routines of both kids and parents?
Simplify things with these back-to-school tips
Leaving yourself enough time for back-to-school preparations will make the transition into the school year much easier. No parent wants to find themselves scrambling around on the morning after Labour Day because they didn’t devote enough time to back-to-school prep!
These nine back-to-school tips will make the new school year easier to adjust to. They’ll also simplify things for you and your children well after that first school bell of the year has rung.
1. Adjust your kids’ sleep schedule
The first of our back-to-school tips is to ensure your kids aren’t going into a new school year with too many bad habits they’ve picked up during the summer.
Kid’s sleeping habits should be near the top of your list of back-to-school concerns. One of the cornerstones of good health is getting consistent and quality sleep, which minimizes the likelihood of stress.
A new school year can be a stress-causing time for many kids and they’ll be better equipped to deal with things if they’re well-rested.
With the first day of school just around the corner, you should already be getting your kids back into the same sleep schedule they’ll be keeping during the school year. It can take some kids longer than others to make an adjustment, so don’t procrastinate on changing their bedtimes.
2. Start limiting screen time
Another summer habit to keep tabs on is the amount of screen time your kids are getting. Like their sleep schedule, you should already be limiting the time your kids are spending on phones, tablets, and in front of the TV.
Making sure your back-to-school prep includes the gradual limiting of screen time will result in fewer headaches and potential arguments over the subject with your kids once the school year begins.
Another reason it’s important to monitor the amount of screen time kids are getting is because it can impact their sleeping habits. Even adults should be conscious of the fact that plenty of research shows that the blue light devices emit can disrupt our sleep patterns and throw off our body clocks.
There are many smartphone and tablet apps available that can limit screen time and help you monitor the usage of your kids’ devices.
3. Ease into a school day routine to lessen new school anxieties
It can be helpful to ease into the changing daily routine that comes with a new school year. Taking a proactive approach to a changing routine is particularly beneficial if you have kids starting at a new school.
If you’re responsible for driving your kids to school, do a few morning dry runs prior to classes beginning. Know how long it’ll take to make the drive and get to school in a comfortable amount of time. Naturally, factor in the added traffic that will be on the roads in the morning once the school year begins.
Unfamiliar surroundings and faces can be stressful, so see if it’s possible to tour the new school and meet some teachers beforehand with your kids. Familiarizing your kids with the school playground and bathroom locations can also up their confidence level.
Even the most well-adjusted of kids will be nervous before starting at a new school. Don’t add to their stress by having them and yourself unprepared for the coming school year.
4. Assess what school supplies you’ll need
A new school year means new school supplies. Check your school’s or board of education’s website to see if a list of recommended supplies is available.
Be sure to first take stock of what school supplies are already owned. This is a good opportunity to begin phase one of a back-to-school clean-up of your kids’ rooms. Clear out desk clutter like broken rulers, crayon nubs, and useless papers.
Bring your kids along for their back-to-school shopping and be sure to limit purchases to needs versus wants. Involving them in buying decisions will also instill a greater sense of ownership and responsibility towards purchased items.
And don’t overlook the importance of kids backpack safety. Ensure your kids are using a backpack that’s suited to their needs and physical size. Also, make sure they’re wearing their backpack properly to minimize aches and pains.
5. Take stock of your kids’ wardrobes
Any list of back-to-school tips would be incomplete without addressing kids’ wardrobes. Does your child have enough outfits for school to accommodate your laundry schedule? Is their clothing clean and presentable?
There are many kids clothing concerns to consider before a new school year. The best way to take stock of what areas to address is to carry out phase two of your back-to-school clean-up. That means thoroughly taking stock of what clothing your kids own by emptying out their closets and dresser drawers.
Some kids can grow several sizes within a year, so you’ll undoubtedly find outgrown clothing that’s only contributing to bedroom clutter. Store them away for future hand-me-down use with one of your younger kids or donate them.
After weeding out the old clothing, go through the keepers and determine what needs to be freshened up with a laundering. Make a list of what new pieces of clothing will be needed to enable an adequate rotation of school and play outfits.
6. Upgrade your kids’ storage and organization systems
Even a larger closet space can easily become disorganized if it’s poorly designed. You can make it easier to keep kids bedrooms and mudrooms/front entryways organized with the following solutions:
- Custom closet organizers enable kids to maintain an organized closet space and can adapt to kids’ changing storage needs
- Closet accessories like hooks, extra hanging bars, and drawer dividers enhance the functionality of any closet space
- Make better use of a kids bedroom’s storage space with a bed surround
- Your mudroom or front entryway can be upgraded with improvements that make better use of storage space
These upgrades can provide more kid-friendly functionality. Everything from better accessibility (such as hanging heights) to the ability to group like items together can be taken into consideration for your kids.
Kids clothing costs can add up and they’ll quickly outgrow things. You don’t want a new pair of kids jeans being worn once and then forgotten about under a heap of clothes in a messy closet, only to be found later when they no longer fit.
7. Teach your kids to be more self-sufficient
One of our back-to-school tips that can make your morning run a little smoother is to get your kids in the habit of being more self-sufficient.
That can include helping get breakfast ready or taking responsibility for their own breakfast. Monitor that they’re eating healthy, protein-rich foods – there’s a reason breakfast is referred to as the most important meal of the day! And make sure they’re leaving enough time for breakfast and not relying on just a couple of protein bars or a Pop-Tart.
You can also get your kids to start making their own lunches. Be mindful that they’re adhering to their school’s allergy policies and that they’re packing a well-balanced, healthy lunch.
Get your kids in the habit of making their bed before leaving for school. Author Charles Duhigg writes in his book The Power of Habit that this practice becomes a “keystone habit” that gets one’s day off to a positive start.
Preparing the night before can also save everyone time in the morning. Make sure your kids’ backpacks are ready to go and you can also have the next day’s school outfit hung up on a handy valet rod. This eliminates wasted time caused by wardrobe indecision.
8. Enable scholastic success with a proper kids study space
Is the space your kids are using for studying and homework enabling them or holding them back? Kids need a comfortable area that’s organized, well-lit, and functional, which can help keep them focussed.
Organized Interiors designs beautiful home office spaces which can be designed with your kids’ needs in mind, your needs in mind, or a combination of the two.
A spare room is ideal for setting up a home office or study space. If that’s not an option, we can also work with an underutilized area of your home to establish a productive studying environment for your kids.
9. Establish good organization habits your kids can emulate
The last of our back-to-school tips involves setting a good example for your kids with your own organization habits.
If the parents aren’t demonstrating that they’re concerned with organization in the bedroom and throughout the home, it’s unreasonable to expect a higher standard from your kids.
Set weekly cleaning and decluttering schedules for you and your kids and stick to them. One of our earlier back-to-school tips mentioned limiting screen time, but some exceptions can be made.
Make use of the many organization and productivity apps families can use to keep on top of home chores.
Get the school year started right with these back-to-school tips
These back-to-school tips can set your kids up for a successful school year. And by giving your kids the back-to-school tools to succeed, you’ll be minimizing your worries as well.
Schedule a free in-home consultation with us and one of our design consultants can evaluate your space. They’ll determine how to best utilize some of the home-enhancing back-to-school tips listed here.