Get back-to-school with ease with these 5 tips

It’s that time again. Back to school. Are you looking forward to the first day of school? Or am I the only parent that feels just as disappointed as most kids are about this? Admittedly it’s a bit overwhelming. The school supplies lists. Yes lists. The uniforms. Not to mention getting back into a much more structured routine which no doubt unfortunately leaves less family time. And for the kids less play time. It’s school all day. Then homework. And soccer practice. And soccer games. Preparing healthy dinners. And then there’s lunches. Then a bit of playtime, a book, bedtime. Repeat. No wonder why that sounds a bit daunting. I can feel my anxiety build a bit as I write these words. But you know we’ll get it all done. We will conquer back to school prep and finding a routine that works. We’re super parents in that sense.

Here’s 5 tips as to how I plan to ease back into back to school (starting now!):

  1. The easy button for buying school supplies and new clothes: buy online. Amazon, Target, Old Navy, H&M…. Check. Check. Check. Check. Not only will this save me the transit time, the parking…but also not having to deal with the stress of finding the right size, right color, the right character themed lunchbox. Start now and check a few things off the list at a time so you’re not overwhelmed ordering things a few days before school where something may be out-of-stock or you’d have to expedite shipping for items to arrive on time. Do though, take advantage of the free shipping threshold, which depending on the retailer could be upwards of $50 and watch for deals! Of course, I’ll include my child in the process of things that matter most. Right now, in his world, he would like to pick out his backpack! I encourage you to do the same. Target.com or Amazon has a plethora of choices with great images, so it’s exciting for your child to be included in the process, even if just online. This is where screen time makes my life easier.
  2. Speaking screen time, if you haven’t already there’s no time like the present to limit screen time and create boundaries for device time. There are apps that do this. But with TechDen it’s the combination of an app + charging station that stores and charges devices when not in use. Best part: devices in The Den are locked and inaccessible so kids are seeing, asking, or accessing devices when they shouldn’t – like dinner time (insert device-free dinner) or at bedtime!
  3. With a few short weeks before school starts pick up a workbook, start practicing number recognition, sounding out letters or working through math equations. I just bought this Learn to Read Activity Book which will not only help encourage his reading (in a fun way) but warm him up to homework being the “new norm.” We also use a reward system so as he learns he can earn poms and eventually poms = a prize. Secret: it works. Top secret: I buy most of my prizes from The Dollar Tree -or- $1 section at Target!
  4. Look back at that summer bucket list you created a few months ago….do you still have a few things you want to do? Or places you want to go? Go for it. If you didn’t create one now’s your chance. How do you and your family take full advantage of the last of summer? Go to your favorite park, have a picnic lunch outside -or- take in that baseball game. Bonus if your summer bucket list is outdoor fun. According to this study kids who play outside regularly are more curious, self-directed, and likely to stay with a task longer. And best yet, happier.
  5. Summer may be coming to an end, but that means a new season is about to begin! Create a fall bucket list. Keep family time and outdoor play in mind! A new study shows kids spend only four to seven minutes a day of unstructured outdoor play. And yet 7 hours or more on screens. Kids need outdoor play to learn and explore the world around them. Fall is perfect time to enjoy outdoor family time: apple picking, campfires, nature hike and football!

So, while back-to-school is approaching us. Remember to take a deep breath. You got it. Summer may be coming to end, but a new season is upon us. Semisonic said it well: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”

Sarah Voss is a full-time working mom of TechDen and a contributing TechDen blog writer. When she’s not enjoying family time with her husband and their 5-year old son, Sarah enjoys cycling, Peloton, cooking, organizing, modern design, spending time with friends, planning new adventures and let’s be honest: wine.