When you're working, navigating the school routine can be stressful, especially for the first few days as everyone gets used to a new schedule. So I put together some tips to make the first few days a little easier.
1. Don't stress too much about buying stuff.
It will still be there later if you forget something. And you can beat the crowds if you're shopping a couple weeks after school starts. They won't use all their school supplies right away, and summer clothes will be just fine until the temperatures drop.
2. Write down (or type into your phone) everything you need to remember.
The first week is usually even more crammed than the rest of the year. For me, each of my kids has a different schedule the first day--if I didn't write it down, my kids would either miss the first day or be hanging out with the crickets for a few hours after school. It will take a few days for the routine to become second nature. Besides their first-day schedules, I also have to keep track of back-to-school night, meetings with teachers, early outs, and more.
3. Start the routines before school starts.
Well, I've never been great at this one, but the theory goes that if you get them used to an earlier bedtime and consistent mealtimes ahead of time, it won't be so hard for their little bodies to adjust.
4. Make lunches ahead, and set out breakfasts the night before.
I sort of do this. I make a week's worth of peanut butter sandwiches (they freeze really well) ahead and stick them in the freezer so my kids can grab one in the morning and go.
5. Review everything that comes home the first week and put it somewhere safe so it doesn't get lost.
Some of the first-week information is important for the entire year. At our house, we have a shelf with key hooks. I put everything school-related in a clip and hang the clip from a key hook. I know that if I stuck it to the fridge with a magnet, it wouldn't stay there long.
6. Get to know the other parents as soon as possible.
Carpools, volunteer substitutes, emergency babysitting, sharing classroom concerns...there are a whole lot of reasons a working mom relies on other parents to help in a pinch. If you've got a few people you can call on, it can reduce your stress.
7. Set a time for homework.
For us, it works best to do homework when our children come home from school. Then we can use video games and playing with friends as a bribe and we don't have to stress about it at bedtime. Homework time can also be a great time (at least when your child isn't throwing fits about his times tables) to talk about what's going on at school.
What do you do to make the back-to-school transition easier in your family?