If you have kids “back to school” is like a 5th season of the year — a crazy little wedge of time stuck between summer and fall and stretching all the way through to the holidays. But it’s at its roughest at the start, and being August right now we’re in the thick of it!
Not stressing though, thanks to some help from fellow moms. From school supply shopping to helping kids adjust their schedules to making lunches they’ll actually eat, here are some real mom tips and hacks for a smoother back-to-school season.
Back-to-school adjustments and transitions
“With little ones headed back to preschool it is good to talk to them about the transition ahead of time. Discuss the routine, teacher, classroom, etc. so that they become comfortable with it and have less anxiety when the first day of school rolls around.” ~Kayla O.
“If your child is starting Kindergarten or entering a new school, ask for a class list and try to arrange some playdates ahead of time. That way your kid will have some familiar faces on their first day.” ~Caitlin P.
“Be the connector. Get all the moms cell phone numbers so you can have a school group text. It is great for group play dates or when you cannot remember when x is due.” ~Cristy H.
“If your child is starting school for the first time, don’t worry too much about whether they’re ready academically. Instead, work on developing their independent life skills. For example, to the extent they’re developmentally able to, make sure they can go to the bathroom independently, dress and undress for outside play, and manage all of the containers in their lunch box on their own.” ~Laura M.
“When your child is first starting school, you can kiss her on the hand each morning and tell her that whenever she needs mommy, she can place her hand to her cheek for a kiss from mommy.” ~Brenda K.
“Start following the school schedule at home before school starts, especially for those new to school. By having food breaks at the same time, they won’t be famished by the time first break rolls around. And by waking up at the same time they’ll need to wake for school, they won’t be as exhausted as they might be if they were adjusting to the new routine and new sleep schedule.” ~Anna A.
“Be prepared ahead of time with your routines and schedules. Having everything organized on your calendar and creating a routine for your kids before and after school can make the transition much smoother.” ~Hannah C.
“Teach your kids kindness. It can be as simple as saying hi, my name is… If you see a new kid. Introduce yourself and ask them if they want to eat lunch with you & your friends. Being new is scary and having one kindness shown to you (like knowing you won’t have to sit alone!) makes all the difference in a new school year.” ~Patty H.
Shopping for school supplies
“Double up on school supplies during the back to school sales and either store them for later in the year when you need to replenish or bundle them as a much-appreciated gift for the teacher.” ~Corinne S.
“When you find amazing deals for back to school, buy extra. Yes, save some for replenishing your child’s stock, but dropping them off at school can help provide supplies for kids’ families who can’t afford them. I try to email the school and let them know what I’m bringing and when. When crayons are .25 a box it’s really easy to grab 4 boxes. And it’s nice to do things for others.” ~Brett M.
“When budgeting for back to school supplies include school pictures. For my kids school, they do pictures the first or second week back and they can get spendy.” ~Kaylee N.
“Having kids in different grades means different supply lists and it can be overwhelming. So I take three lists and turn them into one before going shopping, by checking how many I’ll need of each item in total. They pretty much all need the same basics anyway (pencils, glue sticks etc) it’s easier to go in with one list than switching through multiples.” ~Mandy D.
“Spreading out the cost of back to school necessities can help to lighten the financial burden. By planning ahead and separating your list into multiple trips done over the final 4 weeks of summer you’ll ensure that your bank account doesn’t take the hit all at once.” ~Brittany G.
“Plan and budget. Use a checklist for school supplies and clothes to ensure you don’t buy unnecessary things. Use coupons when possible. Stock up on items like socks and undies. For Summer clothes, wait until the last week of August/first week of September for the best discounts. For Fall clothes, wait until the first week of October.” ~Priscilla G.
“Budget wise I follow couponing gurus to tell me the best deals all summer long. My favorite is Hip2Save, as she has all the best deals at the retailers I shop at (ie: Target, Kohls, Amazon to name a few).” ~Anna R.
Back-to-school lunches made easier
“Getting your child involved in the packing of his lunches teaches responsibility, and it’ll be some extra bonding time for the two of you, in addition to saving money and packing healthier lunches.” ~Shiree M.
“Always keep backups: an extra lunch sack, 2 or 3 ice packs, extra bento boxes if you’re into that sort of thing. There will be a day when your kid forgets their lunch box at school or you’ll forget to clean it out…usually after a holiday weekend.” ~Denise B.
“Don’t make your kid open multiple containers to get to the meal. Often times they’ll get to the thing they like the most and stop there, which means they bring home unopened vegetables. To solve this, I use bento-style containers like the Bentgo or OmieBox so my kids can see all their options at once.” ~Jessica G.
“PACK IN THE PROTEIN. As a long-time vegetarian, I often get asked how I get iron and protein into my diet because those are two things that sustain you through the day. My answer? It’s a long one, even when I keep it nut-free: eggs, cottage cheese, chick peas (my daughter loves them roasted or raw), black beans, seeds, flax, leafy and dark green veggies… the list goes on. Boiled eggs are an awesome on-the-go option and though I’d peel it first for my daughter, older kids are perfectly capable of doing the work for you. Keep some in the fridge to have on hand!” ~Maygen K.
“5dinnersin1hour. They have a cold lunch menu with grocery list and meal prepping that is awesome. Son chooses what he wants and we prep it together for the days he doesn’t want what’s on the lunch menu at school.” ~Teresa A.
Have a back to school hack or tip of your own? Share in the comments!