In just a few short weeks, kids will be returning to school in the United States. My oldest kids will be in 1st and 7th grade, which is a huge deal! Our 7th grader will finally be going back to school full time (YAY! No more every other day virtual!), and our 6-year-old will be entering 1st grade!
Not to mention, our 2-year-old will start daycare, and our 3-year-old will continue in pre-school! A lot of firsts are happening! As a busy mom of 5 kids, preparing for back to school can be ROUGH. I have about eight upcoming days, where it’s full of annual doctor’s appointments, haircuts, dentist appointments, and school registration. It’s crazy, to say the least.
So I’m going to share with you some easy-peasy back-to-school tips from a mom of 5!
1. Start Planning a Month Early
Ever been that mom who does things at the last minute? I can tell you, my friend, that I am a last-minute mom. I am a terrible planner (though I am trying to be better), but I can assure you that once school time rolls around, my calendar is booked solid!
Before the school season even starts, a good month before, I am all about making sure I have everything together as much as I can. I’m talking about
- Doctors appointments
- Dentist appointments
- School shopping
- School Registration
Just to name a few! So start planning, so you can visually see what is coming up! It will help to put it down on paper or on your phone!
2. Time To Organize the Kid’s Stuff
I am not an organizational mom…like at all. My husband helps with a lot of the organization of the house, and I am so so thankful for that. I do try my best though to keep things as organized as I can when it comes to certain things, though.
However, the kid’s stuff is a whole new ballpark. It’s safe to say I highly dislike going through clothes, shoes, and all of the above.
However, it doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s my simple advice from a non-organizational mom…
If you have older kids, let them take the lead. My oldest kids are 12 and 6, and they know their sizes. They can go through their clothes, and they know if it’s too small or not. The only downside to letting them do this is sometimes they like to hang on to something that’s too small….(we’ve all been there, am I right), so it’s important to check over the clothes and shoes that they decide to keep.
If you have younger kids…kids who can’t go through their clothes themselves, well, friend, this is where you have to take the lead. There is no real magic here. You need to get motivated and go through their things! It always looks worse than it is (trust me!).
3. Getting the Kids Into a Bedtime Routine
This is one of the most important things that will save your sanity! The night before is where the real magic lies here. The night before:
- All kids’ clothes, socks, and shoes picked out
- Your clothes picked out (this helps so much too!)
- Diaper bag packed and ready to go
- Bookbag checked, homework done, and ready to go
Now, these things may seem minuscule, but I assure you, they are time savers. Do you have a child who constantly loses socks? Shoes? What if they change their mind about what they’re going to wear in the morning? Or- what if they get dressed, and they put on something that looks a little silly and no longer fits?! (Yes, I am speaking from 100% experience here).
4. Getting the Kids Into a Morning Routine
Mornings are just as important as the night before. Because doing those simple things mentioned the night before can really set you up for success in the morning. When the morning rolls around, the routine is simple:
- Get up
- Get dressed (clothes/socks/shoes)
- Eat breakfast
- Brush hair/teeth
And that is it! Their bookbag is already good to go because last night, it was checked and ready. They didn’t take long to put their clothes, socks, or shoes on because they were laid out the night before. It really does make the mornings go just a tad bit smoother!
5. Start Meal Planning
Meal planning is a great way to again, save your sanity and also have more time in the evenings. That looks different every single night and for every family, but no matter what saving a little bit of time looks like for your family, it is a great thing to start doing, especially when school starts.
Generally, even during the summer (especially since I work from home), I really adore easy meals. Here are some of my go-to meals that will definitely be making a re-appearance during the school year:
- Sloppy joes and french fries
- Hot dogs and french fries
- Tikka Masala, rice and Naan bread
- Spaghetti, garlic bread, and Ceasar salad
- Baked lasagna, garlic bread, and Ceasar salad
- Swiss steak (cooks for 8 hours, ready by dinner time!), over rice and broccoli
- Fish sticks and french fries
- Beef Stroganoff
- Chicken breast, mixed vegetables, and rice
- Philly subs and chips
- Chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and vegetables
- Homemade pizza (my kids LOVE this and prefer it over ordering out!)
And so many more! I may not be the healthiest mom cook out there, and I probably will never be. However, I do try to make sure we have vegetables and salads with most meals.
Meal prepping is a whole other can of worms that I’m not an expert in, and I hardly do it myself, but if that is something you are interested in there are easy ways to do that as well!
6. Schedule the Necessary Appointments
Now that you’ve planned and written down the things you need to get done, it’s time to make those phone calls and get them scheduled! Of course, these are different for every family. Your kids’ annual check-up may be in January, so obviously, that won’t be on your list.
Think of the things that may need to be done, though, including:
- School Registration
- Transition day appointments at the school
- Dentist appointment
- Doctor appointment
- Vaccination appointment
- Eye doctor appointment
Think of things like haircuts, etc, that may need appointments as well! Knock them out and get ’em done!
7. Have a Fun Day Before School Starts
This is something that we started doing this year, and I think it will end up being a tradition! I took my oldest daughters out for a mommy-and-daughter date and got the remainder of the things needed for school. We:
- We went shopping to get some things they needed, like underwear, socks, jeans, shoes, etc.
- Got haircuts
- Went out to lunch
And made it a super fun day! So plan a day to get all of those loose ends tied up and make it fun!
Now that you’ve planned and scheduled those appointments that were needed, this is a great time to add those in too! Or, just make this a completely different day and have lots of fun! (That is what we did!)
8. Go Over Expectations With Your Kids
Now that the school year is starting, it’s time to break out the expectations. Maybe your kids already know the rules, or maybe they need a reminder, but either way, it is great to enforce them and let the expectations be clear. It can be things like
- Bedtime for school days
- What to do when coming home from school
- Expectations of school and reminders
Bedtime During the School Week
It’s important that kids get good sleep. So, it’s not a surprise that you’re probably going to want them to go to bed earlier on a school night. Start the new bedtime a week or so before school. So they are used to it and communicate that to them.
What To Do When Coming Home From School
Is it just me, or am I the only mom who is driven nuts when kids just stand around? I feel like I get anxious knowing that things, important things, are not done, and they are just standing around. So, we make it clear that after school comes
- Getting clothes, shoes, and socks out for the next day
- Bookbag ready to go
Kids need reminders all of the time! Having a chat before school starts about those types of expectations will help.
Expectations of School
I’m the type of mom who likes to give long responses, answers, lectures, and “lessons.” Maybe it’s because I watched too many episodes of Family Matters, Full House, Boy Meets World, The Wonder Years, etc…but I love having a talk with them when school starts (really, all of the time).
I tell them things like
- Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. (I’ve been telling my oldest this since she first started school, and I am now telling this to my younger kids as well)
- Remember to be kind
- Use your manners
- Make friends, and also choose your friends well
- Tell your friends about Jesus and invite them to church (giving information to the parent, of course)
- You can do anything! You are strong, smart, and have God on your side
- Listen and be the best you can be
And other little things that, in my mind, help build our children. I like to think of them as little golden nuggets of wisdom they’ll hold onto forever. So, plant those positive seeds in your kids!
9. Communicate With Your Spouse
This is another important thing that is a must. Communicating with your spouse is something that should be done before school starts! Things like picking up and dropping off the kids, important dates and information, and any other important info that you may need to relay!
I hope this inspired you to have fun and get things done like the boss mom you are!
Tell me, what are your go-to back-to-school tips? Let me know in the comments!