11 Smart Back to School Tips

It’s that time of year, and whether you and your kids are looking forward to going back to school, a transition can be challenging. It’s hard to get back into routine after the freedom of summer. Here’s how to make it a little easier on all of you:

1. Create a schedule with my kids:

We’re working on a schedule for wake-up time, homework time, bedtime, and anything else that has to be worked into the school day. Having the kids be a part of the planning gives them some control over their schedules and keeps me from being the bad guy who has to enforce everything.

2. Break in new shoes:

Have the kids wear shoes with thick socks and use a hair dryer to heat up the tight spots. This will help stretch them and avoid blisters.

Keep buttons on shirts:

OMG, is there anything worse than a button falling off a shirt on a busy morning? Applying a coat of clear nail polish over buttons is a cool hack for keeping those buttons on.

3. Get the right supplies:

If you haven’t gotten a list from your child’s teacher, consult online supplies lists that are organized by grade.

4. Color code each child:

To stay organized, each child has his or her own color. Stickers on lunchboxes, notebooks, backpacks, etc, will help to avoid mixups.

5. Keep everyone healthy:

Even while they’re rollin their eyes, we go over the rules so they know how to properly wash their hands. I also make sure to remind them that to avoid spreading nits and lice, sharing hairbrushes and hats is absolutely forbidden!

6. Keep lunches hot:

I love this one! If you’re worried about food staying hot until lunchtime, try this trick: fill a Thermos with almost boiling water and cover it. Leave it for a few minutes (you can heat up the food or serve breakfast in this time), then spill out the water and fill with lunch.

7. Keep lunches cold:

To keep the contents of sandwiches cool and fresh until lunch, I make the sandwiches on frozen bread. The bread will thaw by lunchtime and the inside will be perfect.

8. Keep drinks cold:

At night, I fill water bottles halfway and place in the freezer on their sides. In the morning I fill them up with water, which stays cold all day as the ice thaws. Putting the icy water bottle in a lunchbox keeps the food cool, too.

9. DIY ice packs:

Soak sponges in water, seal in ziploc bags, and freeze. These make great ice packs for lunchboxes because as they melt the water gets reabsorbed by the sponge, everything stays neat. Refreeze and use again!

10. Avoid hair accessory drama:

Store hair ties and clips in sectioned craft boxes and everything’s always neat, which makes mornings a whole lot easier!

11. Kiss up to the teacher:

I’ll admit, this might be cheap, but it never hurts. I send in extra supplies, write a nice note, or anything that makes the teacher feel appreciated, and score points for my kids.