Editor's note: This article was sponsored by Flyhomes.
Between scrambling for school supplies and establishing new routines for the coming school year, back-to-school season is stressful enough. Add to that mix the disorganization that comes with the aftermath of a pandemic, and this fall is sure to come with a learning curve. But never fear! We’ve rounded up our favorite home organization solutions, gear, lunch recipes and more tips to make this your best back-to-school season yet.
1. Invest in the essentials
When it comes to back-to-school gear, every kid needs four essentials: a backpack, a water bottle, convenient lunch containers and an insulating lunch bag. Of course, options abound — but which brands are best? We’ve rounded up our favorites based on cost, ease of cleaning and easy access for little hands — check out our list.
2. Cut the clutter
Managing the mess can seem like an insurmountable task. Homework supplies and art projects are sure to take over the whole house without a few organizational systems in place. That’s why we love products like this minimalist space-saving kid’s desk and this portable art unit, both from Ikea. Want more ideas? Check out our homeschooling supplies list, our suggestions for storage solutions and some of our practical home décor tips.
3. Set kids up for success
Creating a homework station is essential for keeping your kids organized and on task at home. We have a whole host of fun DIY ideas for setting kids up for homework success, from clever homework binders to cute caddies. Be sure to check out our complete list for scads of helpful ideas!
4. Establish a routine
Cool back-to-school gadgets are all well and good, but gear only gets you so far without a solid routine. Take a tip from parent coach Sarina Behar Natkin, LICSW, who says that establishing a routine ahead of time is the best way to set yourself up for a smooth transition. “One of our best strategies as parents is prevention. Setting things up is easier than fixing a problem,” advises Natkin. Read her 10 tips for success (and 40 other expert tips for rocking the back-to-school transition).
5. Ready, set, lunch!
We know how it goes. You start the year creating healthy, clever, kid-approved lunches, only to backslide into boring PB&Js when life gets too hectic. Don’t fall into old patterns this year! We’ve come up with a list of healthy and easy meals to make ahead of time, from mini frittatas to easy, protein-packed quesadillas. And as the weather gets cooler, be sure to check out our thermos lunch roundup, too.
6. A mom chef’s recipe for success
Cooking amazing lunches isn’t just about the recipes. Chef and mom Jackie Freeman has 10 essential tips for how to feed your kids healthy meals throughout the school year — without getting totally burned out. From how to plan ahead to fostering food independence in your kids, read her complete list of tips.
7. Rest easy
Sleep coach Malia Jacobson says that the best way to encourage healthy sleep habits for your kids is to involve them in the process. “Research shows increased compliance if kids have input.” But don’t get attached to unrealistic expectations. The key to great sleep is learning what’s best for your kid in particular, and Jacobson has tons of other strategies for discovering healthier sleep habits together. Read her top 10 sleep tips.