Attention Parents: You’ll Love These Back-to-School Hacks for Getting into the Swing of Things
Nothing feels quite as daunting as that September (or late August) rush back into the classroom, but some moms seem to approach back to school with effortless organization and ease. (How do they do it?) We studied their habits—and picked up a few practical tidbits that’ll help you nail your new routine.
They Schedule a Practice Run
Back-to-school jitters are normal no matter what, but they might be especially rampant this year as many children return to school in person for the first time. If your kid is nervous, drive or walk them to the building the day before, so they can see where they enter, what the playground looks like, etc. PureWow Editor-in-Chief Jillian Quint also adds, “I like to tell them there’s going to be a surprise note in their lunch box the next day, so they have something to look forward to.” (Editor tip: You can write your note on a napkin or better yet—on a Ziploc® Brand sandwich bag so they’re bound to see it.)
They Turn the First Day into a Treasure Hunt
Take things a step further and turn the first day back into a game. “Make a little map of your route to school, with certain markers called out—hop like a bunny to find your shoes; look out the window to spot a billboard with a cat on it. Include a surprise just before arriving (a new mask, gel pens, whatever will make them smile). It can help get them out the door and excited, rather than anxious about the unknown,” says Executive Editor Candace Davison.
They Stock Up on Lunch Supplies
Ah, meal prep. It always sneaks up on you, right? Get your assembly line in order now with sandwich bags from Ziploc® Brand that feature Grip ‘n Seal technology—an extended tab and textured, easy grip seal that makes it easier to open and close the bag (great for kids!). Whether for school or work, these baggies are perfect for keeping sandwiches and snacks as fresh as when you packed them.
They Create a “Drop Zone”
Make sure each kid has a place for their stuff at home—a hook for their backpack, a charging station for their laptop and a drawer or box for their completed assignments. “I also have a clean and dirty mask bin—since they have to wear a new one every day, it makes it easier to keep track and not lose them,” says Jillian.
They Set Up a Physical Inbox
Speaking of zones, place an “in tray” in the kitchen for all the school notices that need signing, birthday party invites that need remembering and electric bills that need paying. Train your kids to place anything of importance in this spot—or, if they’re little, empty their backpacks and do it yourself.
They Hang a Kid-Friendly To-Do List on the Wall
It’s as simple as picking up a wipe-off board or customizable chart and writing out the easy-to-complete steps that make up your kid’s morning routine. This way, when they walk into the bathroom, they can see at a glance that they need to 1) Brush their teeth, 2) Get dressed, and 3) Brush their hair. The result? They’ve got some marching orders and feel empowered.
They Have Conversation Starters at the Ready
The after-school pickup (or school bus drop-off) goes something like this: “How was school?” you eagerly ask. “Fine,” they blankly respond. Instead of leaving the conversation there, try more specific prompts: “Tell me something funny that happened today” or “What was the most surprising thing you learned today?” These questions essentially force them to give you an answer. (Hello, that’s the goal.)