Organizing Tips For A Successful Back To School – Part 2 ~ It’s back to school time and here is a collection of tips and ideas to help you organize your child and even yourself for a successful back to school! There are a lot of things to think about including new schedules, routines, things to do and of course, back to school shopping for clothes (especially shoes) and supplies. The key is to be organized ahead of time.
Here Are Organizing Tips For A Successful Back To School To Help You Get There….
Establish and Follow Through On a Lunch Kit and Backpack Routine
Establish and most importantly, follow through on a daily routine of having your child immediately emptying their backpack when they return home from school. You can be sure that your child will have a set routine established by the teacher for emptying their backpack when they get to school including making sure they hand in any notes, homework or library books. So you can easily expect the same from your child. As soon as they get home have them place their lunch kit by the sink on the kitchen counter and empty out their backpack placing the need to see items in a designated place. As the parent you also need to be part of the routine and immediately go through and attend to what has been set out by your child so that it can go back into the backpack ready for the next day of school. By the way, did you notice I suggested that it is the child that empties out the backpack and not the parent? This is a great way for the child to learn to do this on a regular basis? If they can do it at school for the teacher, they can do it at home too.
Erin over at Neaten Your Nest has posted a fabulous video where she was a guest on the Fox Morning News Program in Colorado Springs. She shares some fabulous tips including going how to organize the empty the backpack routine. I highly recommend you click this link and take some time to view this informative video.
Designate A Special Place In The Backpack For School Notes
It is quite amazing how much a child’s backpack can hold and that it can become a bottomless pit. I suggest only have your child carry in it things that are necessary and relevant. Notes coming to and from school are a regular occurrence and it can be inconvenient for you and the teacher or school if something gets missed. I recommend making a simple home/school message envelope from a large brown envelope or resealable bag. Label it something like ___________________’s School Mail and assign a special place in the backpack to go. It will be a lot easier to locate and pull the school mail envelope out rather than rummage through the bottomless pit looking for single pieces of paper.
On a side note, I know that many schools are going more to paperless and posting information and forms online for parents to download and complete. But the child still has to be the courier and return the paperwork to the teacher or the school.
Clearly Identify Any Money Coming to School
As a teacher I have had students plop some money on my desk with no indication from whom it came from. I really appreciated when parents placed the money in a sealed envelope or releasable bag telling me who it came from, the amount and what it was for. I also really appreciated that the cheque was paper clipped to the form rather than stapled. You would be quite amazed at all of the ‘administrivia’ and paperwork tasks a teacher has to do on a daily basis so we appreciate all the support we can get.
On another side note, I know schools are moving towards programs where you can make payments directly online so if it hasn’t already, this system will be coming eventually to your school too!
Try Not To Be A Helicopter Parent, Especially On The First Day
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Everyone including the teacher has a bit of those first day back to school jitters. If you talk to teachers we start to have dreams and maybe even a nightmare or two just before the school startup. I have a yearly nightmare usually a week before school starts that I was teaching at the front of the class and nobody was listening to me. But if I were to show my anxiousness to my students, they would pick up on that right away. Similarly, if you as a parent are showing your anxiety and worries to your child, it communicates a message that school is something to be nervous about and that will show up in the school day. I’ve had parents in tears as they dropped their child off and hovering around the classroom door right to the last minute. Guess what the child is doing too? Or I have seen some children totally embarrassed. Instead, give your child a high five and a hug and hide any anxiety that you may have as best you can.
Whenever my own children were starting a new experience including starting a new grade I always told them “I am giving you a gift of independence because I trust you to be able to handle this new experience.” That seemed to build confidence in my daughters.
Make The First Day Of School A Celebration
Plan for a first day of school breakfast if you have the time or even better, make reservations at a favourite restaurant for the family to go out for dinner at the end of the first day or the first week to celebrate the new beginnings. We went out for dinner at the end of the first week to celebrate and talk about all of the great things that happened.
Another way to celebrate is of course the first day of school photograph and then plan to take a picture on the last day of school at the end of the year. It’s so fun to see the changes in your child.
Plan Lunches Ahead Of Time
I am a big believer in meal planning for the week. Here are two posts I wrote where I share my system for meal planning: Meal Planning Using Themes and How To Menu Plan Using Themes – Part 2. I recommend planning lunches for the week with input from your child as to what they would like to eat. That saves a lot of time coming up with ideas everyday. I also recommend keeping the lunches simple and balanced with foods that are mostly nutritious. I also suggest making the lunch very user friendly so your child can eat everything in the allotted school lunch time. That includes peeling the orange, slicing the apple and cutting the sandwich into quarters. Always have a backup stock of cutlery in the lunch kit too just in case you forgot to through in a spoon for the pudding that day. A final tip is to make the lunch quickly while cleaning up the supper dishes the night before reducing the rush the next morning.
Make a Tradition of Planning a Special Back to School Family Meal
As a teacher I was hit with two levels of ‘back to school’ preparation every year. Not only did I have to be super organized getting my classroom and program ready for my students but I also had to get my own children ready with all of the things I mentioned in this little blog series. Another thing I made time for was to make a summer turkey just prior to school beginning. I roasted the turkey in a roaster so the oven did not have to on when it was hot outside and I served it with salads and dinner rolls instead of the traditional turkey dinner foods. Then guess what I did with the leftover turkey? Yup, my children went to school with turkey sandwiches their first week of school and I put the rest in the freezer to make up some turkey casseroles for dinner later in the month.
So that’s about it. I just want to say thank you for stopping by. I would love to hear what you do to make it a successful back to school for your family and your child. I also want to wish you good luck and a successful school year for everyone. It is such an exciting time!
Organizing Tips For A Successful Back To School – Part 2 is a continuation from the previous post that is loaded with helpful tips too! Stop by and check it out…
… and here is a cookie recipe that would be perfect for packing in school lunches or have handy for an after school snack!