Tips on how to manage the back to school madness

Back to school is an exciting time of the year, for kids and parents alike. It can also be overwhelming, especially if the previous couple of months had bedtimes that came later in the evening and your family took a break from structure and routine.

We turned to our role models and asked them: “What is your best tip for managing the madness of back to school?” Here’s what they told us…

Don’t stress too much about getting all of the latest school supplies. Oftentimes you have most of what you need at home already. Turn it into a game and have the kids find as many school supplies as they can, take inventory, and then top off with any essentials that you need. Or wait until after the first day of school. Kids might love that super cool binder set but may find they have very little room for it inside their desks.
— Diana Mancuso

I make sure everything is on the calendar. I look at the school calendar, the school district calendar, the synchro team calendar, and provincial synchro swim schedule, and I’m sure I drive my daughter’s guide leader nuts asking for camp dates. Then I make sure everything is on the family calendar so everyone knows what’s coming. We also start getting back to a regular schedule the week before school starts so we aren’t battling lack of sleep the first week, on top of everything else.
— Heather Gardiner

Sleep, eating … lots!
— Dr. Dina Kulik

Schedule family time where you can do an activity. It gives everyone something to look forward to, and provides a little fun each week! We let a different family member pick the activity each week, and everyone loves our “adventures”.
— Holly LaRochelle

We start to get closer and closer to wake up and bedtime routine the two weeks previous — often booking a day camp or early morning activities in that time frame to help out with motivation. Plan a family “End of Summer” activity that celebrates a great summer holiday — like a campfire or whatever your family enjoys best. Being excited about preparing the fall schedule also helps.
— Joan Chand’oiseau

Mostly I just close my eyes, cover my ears, and pretend like it’s not happening. I do have a wipe-off magnetic calendar on my fridge, though, and I fill it in monthly with daily activities so the kids can look and see what’s coming. I also attempt to start earlier bedtimes and earlier wake-up times, but the end of summer is always filled with so many fun things we’d rather be doing that it never seems to work. So I guess it’s looking like my “strategy” is to make the most out of the last days of summer and avoid the back to school madness altogether until I’m thrown into it. Maybe not the most practical approach, but I can’t say it isn’t fun.
— Stephanie Slate

Start with the clothes. Do they fit? Are they too long, snug, short? Their backpacks should also be large enough to fit a change of clothes, a lunch bag, a library book and the diary for little ones. For older kids the backpack needs to also fit a binder and possibly a laptop and be a comfortable carry for growing backs. My kids are returning to school this year with last year’s backpacks. And even though my kids think their childhood is forever deprived (so begins the tween angst) my frugal heart simply cannot get rid of bags that are in such good shape. My other recommendation: bookmark some recipes now that you can turn around in the crazy first week of school. And if you can save some extras for lunch next day — what a bonus!
— Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma (Check out more suggestions from Puneeta for getting ready for back to school.)

I love to read books about back to school or first day of school because books help give kids the words to express their feelings. This way if there are worries or excitement, they tend to come up after a cozy story and we can have a nice chat about it.
— Sara Vartanian

My best tip would be to not stress about those perfect first days of school photos. Be in the moment, not behind the lens. It’s a big day for all of you, so enjoy it!
— Jennifer Pinarski

For some more great suggestions see these tips from Slow Family Online.

Do you have any tried and true strategies for making the back to school transition go more smoothly for your family? If so, we’d love to hear about them. Please tell us in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.

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