Whether it’s your kid’s first day of kindergarten, high school or university, September is a stressful season. We share some tips to help you cope.
Stressed about getting your kids back to school? Some of our favourite parenting bloggers and other experienced parents share their top tips for surviving September; tell us yours in our comments section below.
Diana Mancuso, Toronto Teacher Mom
Easing into back-to-school routines requires practice; tailor schedules accordingly at least a week before the big day to account for an adjustment period. Also, label everything!
Jennifer Hicks, UrbanMoms
My best back-to-school tip is to start meal planning if you haven’t already. Spending a half-hour on the weekend planning dinners for the week will save you countless hours of time standing in front of an empty fridge wondering what you’re going to whip up for your starving kids.
Tamara McPherson, WonderMoms
After an amazing summer of lazy days by the beach, playing at the park and travelling around Ontario, we are looking at getting back to hitting the books and packing lunches for another exciting year at school.
In our house we start the back-to-school routines the last two weeks of August: early bedtimes, laying out clothes the night before and of course the back-to-school shopping. I always shop with lists and stay within budget, as with four children costs add up quickly. We reuse as much as we can from the previous year, since backpacks, lunch bags and pencil cases do not need to be replaced every year.
Carrie Anne Badov, EverythingMom
No matter how organized we are for the start of school, I know to expect a week of meltdowns and mood swings as my kids adjust from summer vacation. Keeping this in mind and being a little forgiving leads to a less painful transition.
Making school lunches can be stressful. Involving the kids in preparing and packing their lunches can lead to fewer uneaten lunches being brought home. If lunches return home uneaten at the start of the school year, it’s usually because the kids are adjusting to the social aspect of school; kids love to chat during lunch hour instead of eating. For many kids this phase usually passes after the lunchroom novelty wears off.
Whether your child is entering kindergarten or moving into Grade Six, instilling good homework habits early is important. Establish a regular routine and create a homework space that you can monitor.
Maria Lianos-Carbone, AMotherWorld
Get organized early! Have the kids go to bed on their regular school-time schedule for at least one week before school begins. Do your school supply shopping early including backpacks, pencil cases and lunch bags. Don’t forget to pack a healthy lunch with ice packs and charge your batteries for your children’s first-day-of-school photos!
Loukia Zigoumis, Loulou’s Views
Getting out of summer mode and into school mode is not an easy task! We spend the last week before school starts organizing closets, stocking up on new clothes and running shoes, and making sure all our back-to-school items are bought and ready to go! That means taking the kids shopping and making it a fun experience for all. After all, the beginning of a new school year should be celebrated, right?
I make sure all the things I need are easy to find and organized, from backpacks to lunch kits. Don’t forget to stock the fridge with healthy snacks and meal options – meal planning is great, too!
And from our Brighter Life editorial team:
Brenda Spiering, Editor, Simply put
If you’re helping college-age kids cover back-to-school expenses, consider having them pay for items that can vary in cost, such as clothing and cell phone plans, while you contribute towards fixed expenses, such as tuition. It can help keep your spending from spiralling out of control as well as help them learn how to manage a budget. Plus, you’ll be surprised how clever they can become at hunting for sales and discount phone plans when they’re spending their own money. You may even learn a thing or two from them!
Anne Levy-Ward, Managing Editor
From the day my eldest started junior kindergarten until my youngest was well into senior high, I always took a vacation day on the first day of school. Early on it was so I could walk my kids to school (and have a little cry afterwards, if needed); later, it was so I could make sure they got out the door fully equipped and on time. My being on the spot had a calming effect. (On my kids, too.)
Natasha MacFarlane, Digital Consultant
When my daughters progressed to middle school, we took some time during the last week of summer to walk the new school route. This provided an opportunity to review road safety such as where to cross the street and how to be aware of potential traffic dangers. I “tested” their knowledge and skill by letting them lead the way. This gave them confidence and eased anxiety for both them and me!
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