Wallingford blogger: Back to school tips for parents

As summer comes to an end and the school year awaits, it can be scary and stressful time for both kids and parents. There are a variety of ways to prepare for an easy transition back to school for different aged children. As a former elementary school teacher and Mom of a preschooler, I want to share everything I know about back to school tips for parents.

Tip 1: Reset Sleep Schedules

Start a regular sleep/wake routine in your house at least seven days before school begins. Everyone stays up and sleeps in a little later during the summer, so it is best to reset sleep schedules to normal times for the school year. Sleep is crucial for not only a pleasant morning, but more importantly: academic performance (and your sanity). Be bold – be strong – and don’t give up. It is so hard to make kids go to bed earlier than normal, so ease into the earlier bedtime by a few minutes each evening. If you have a late sleeper, order a gentle alarm clock with sunrise simulations.

Tip 2: A Visit from the Back to School Fairy

Magic makes everything better, right? The Back to School Fairy can visit anytime the week before school starts. Our fairy brings a story for the night before the first day, as well as a new lunchbox. Even if you have an older child, surprise him or her with extra school supplies, Post-It notes (my favorite), or a fun folder.

Tip 3: Plan Back to School Outfits

If you’re kids are anything like Annabelle, they prefer to pick out their own clothing. Organize back to school outfits by laying out a top/bottom/socks/shoes for each day of the first week back to school.  When I was younger we always went back to school shopping and I kept the tags on each outfit until the day I was going to wear it. Annabelle does the same thing! If you’re not going to buy new clothes for the school year, let your child pick and lay out their favorite (appropriate) outfits.

Tip 4: Pack an Exciting Lunch Box

How many parents feel like their lunch game is weak? Don’t let all of the Pinterest-Parents out there that make their kids’ lunches look like a work of art intimidate you. Pick up an organized food storage container or bento box. The compartments make your children’s lunch look fancy no matter what you actually put inside.

Tip 5: Pack a Delicious Lunch

Preschoolers are picky when it comes to food – some days Annabelle loves ham sandwiches and the next she craves a simple hardboiled egg. Talk with your child about their favorite foods and then pack a delicious lunch each day that he/she can look forward to. I love using different shape sandwich cutters for Annabelle’s lunch box as I know they always make her smile.

Here are some great ideas for school lunch:

Sandwich: deli meat + cheese, peanut butter (or any nut butter) + jelly, cucumber + cream cheese, hummus + veggies, hardboiled egg + bread

Snacks: Hummus + veggies, string cheese/cubed cheese + crackers, pretzels, cut-up fruit, nut butter on celery + raisins, homemade muffins, homemade trail mix

Tip 6: Read Back to School Books

Back to School Books – A great way to ease tension about the first day of school is reading back to school themed books with your child. We already have a few books about going back to school in our home library, but it’s easy to order back to school themed books online or borrow them from your local library.

Whether you have a preschooler or a sixth grader, there are so many different books out there about the first day of school (or starting a new school). From informational to comical, choose a book that suits your child’s personality.

Don’t let the back to school jitters get the best of you or your child. Make sure you’re prepared for the new school year (as best as you can be) by using these tips for parents. Talk about going back to school with your child before the day sneaks up on you!

Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of two who loves sharing all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Learn about fun activities at home, family friendly travels, easy recipes and more.

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