The back-to-school season is quickly approaching, and there’s so much to do! There’s plenty of preparation required to make the transition seamless for kids but they aren’t the only ones who need a little help. Parents need to make big changes, too! Carpools, lunches, work, extracurriculars — the list is endless. So, let’s take a minute to talk about a few things parents can do to get themselves ready for school.
Start communicating and coordinating potential carpools. You can’t do it all! Setting up a carpool not only saves time and creates social opportunities for kids, it’s also good for the environment. Get in touch with other parents in the neighborhood who will be schlepping their kids to the same places as you will. You’ll be glad you did!
Create a wardrobe shopping list. Last year’s jeans and sweaters are probably going to be too short or too snug. Set aside time to have your kids try on all of last year’s school clothes, clear room in the closet and decide together what you need to buy.
Hit the mall early. Get your back-to-school shopping done well before school starts to ensure your child has all the required supplies (and to avoid stress when Target is completely depleted of supplies because “back-to-school” shelves were stocked in early July).
Start planning meals. Sit down and plan lunch options and a system for lunch prep. Ask your kids for their top 10 meals or foods, and create a calendar of meals for the first month of school. There are also plenty of apps that can help you get organized, including Cook Smarts, Pepper Plate and Plan To Eat.
Adjust sleep schedules. Rise and shine! Many kids stay up later and sleep late during the summer. Be sure to prepare your family for early mornings by adjusting bedtimes a week or two in advance of school starting. Try using a bedtime routine chart to create clarity and consistency — both particularly helpful when your child would rather be doing anything but sleeping.
Start morning routines in advance. Getting out the door on time is rarely easy but by “practicing” a week in advance of school, you lower the stakes while whipping your team into shape. For younger kids, a routine chart can help encourage responsibility and independence.
Plan a date for yourself. Don’t lose sight of how important your needs are. Be sure to schedule a coffee date or an adults’ night out. Putting your self-care on the priority list ends up being a win-win for the entire family!
Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2017 and updated most recently in August 2018.