All good things must come to an end, and right now that’s true of summer. Which inevitably involves back to school trauma. Yes, I used the word “trauma,” because even if you’ve been waiting all summer for your kids to be busy out of the house most of the day, getting them back to school still always seems to be an ordeal. Getting the kids back to school and getting the whole family back into the routine is hard, and that’s probably not going to change. But we owe it to ourselves to make it as easy as possible, so here are some hacks that can help:
- Create a schedule with your kids. Work with your kids to make a schedule for wake-up time, homework time, bedtime, and anything else that has to be worked into the school day. Having the kids be a part of the planning gives them some control over their schedules and keeps you from being the bad guy who has to enforce everything.
- Break in new shoes. Have the kids wear shoes with thick socks and use a hair dryer to heat up the tight spots. This will help stretch them and avoid blisters.
- Keep buttons on shirts. OMG, is there anything worse than a button falling off a shirt on a busy morning? Apply a coat of clear nail polish over buttons and they’ll stay on.
- Get the right supplies. If you haven’t gotten a list from your child’s teacher, consult online supplies lists that are organized by grade.
- Keep lunches hot. I love this one! If you’re worried about food staying hot until lunchtime, try this trick: fill a Thermos with almost boiling water and cover it. Leave it for a few minutes (you can heat up the food or serve breakfast in this time), then spill out the water and fill with lunch.
- Keep lunches cold. To keep the contents of sandwiches cool and fresh until lunch, make the sandwiches on frozen bread. The bread will thaw by lunchtime and the inside will be perfect.
- DIY ice packs. Soak sponges in water, seal in ziploc bags, and freeze. These make great ice packs for lunchboxes because as they melt the water gets reabsorbed by the sponge and everything stays neat. Refreeze and use again!
- Avoid hair accessory drama. Store hair ties and clips in sectioned craft boxes and everything’s always neat, which makes mornings a whole lot easier!
- Color code each child. To stay organized, each child has his or her own color. Use stickers on lunchboxes, notebooks, backpacks, etc, and avoid mixups.
- Kiss up to the teacher. I’ll admit, this might be cheap, but it never hurts. Send in extra supplies, write a nice note, or anything that makes the teacher feel appreciated, and score points for your child.
- Keep your kids healthy. Make sure they know how to properly wash their hands, and forbid sharing of brushes or hats to avoid lice.
Transition is never easy, but do what you can to help yourself a little, and it will all go a little more smoothly. Good luck!