Creative Back to School Tips for Working Parents
You may have enjoyed the summer break just as much as your child. You had a few months of not having to review homework or playing taxi for their heavy extracurricular calendar. Autumn is here and that means school is in session (for the both of you).
So far you’ve managed to get through the back to school routines of doctor checkups; shopping for school supplies; and, getting spiffy haircuts. If you’re still a little anxious about getting back into the swing of the school schedule, we want to help. Here are some creative back to school tips that’ll keep your home front running smoothly.
Our Back to School Tips for Working Parents:
1. Build a Fun Café for Easy Lunches
Making wholesome lunches is a tough chore for any mom or dad. Shave off precious time from your everyday morning routine by planning and preparing a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday.
- 1.) With your child’s help, create an assembly line for making, packaging and storing all of the healthy food options for the week.
- 2.) Assign space in your fridge, freezer and pantry for the premade lunch items.
- 3.) Before you go to bed, let your child make their lunch order for the next day.
By creating a fun café atmosphere, you can let your children be involved in creating their daily school lunches and get a solid routine down.
For easy to make and healthy lunch ideas, check out 10 Recipes to Freeze for School Lunches. Why should your kids be the only ones to get such great service from the new home café? Here are 23 Make-Ahead Lunches to Get You Through the Work Week.
2. Weekly Fashion Show to Pick School Clothes
Picking out clothes for school can be a time consuming task. Get organized and make getting dressed each morning a breeze by picking out 5 outfits for the week. To add a little creative fun to the mix, we suggest letting your child put on a fashion show to plan their weekly school clothes collection.
Take a picture of each outfit and make a photo collage or photo slideshow so your little one can follow along each day. There are some neat photo apps that can make this little project easier. Check out Creative Blog’s latest review of the 32 best photo apps.
If you have a teenager, ask them to create a weekly “lookbook” of their school attire options. This will save them time each morning; eliminating the question, “What should I wear today?” It will also allow you to secretly preapprove any choices they’ve made. Here is a Pinterest board for similar back to school lookbooks you can show your teens.
3. Designate a Wake Up Song to Get Pumped
Designate a special song for your entire house to wake up to. If you can come up with a few family favorites, make a playlist that leads to leaving the house and hopping in the car. Let your child help pick the song(s) and have fun with it.
Nothing says good morning like these positive tune examples:
- • I’m Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
- • Happy by Pharrell Williams
- • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah by James Baskett
4. Host a Homeroom Briefing at Home
It’s the first week back to school and your child has their new schedule, syllabi and summer gossip. Spend time learning all you can about the new developments in your child’s academic and social life. An informed parent will be better equipped to make the transition back into school smoother.
During this scheduled homeroom session, learn more about:
- • Your child’s first impressions of the teachers and their expectations.
- • Your child’s new schedule and specific courses being taken.
- • Who their eating lunch with and any new friends they made.
- • Any positive and negative events that happened.
Make this a weekly routine and always stay up to date.
5. Download a Fun Shared Calendar App
Create a shared calendar for your entire family with easy, modern smartphone apps. These calendars allow everyone to sync calendars and have mobile access to the weekly schedule.
Blogger, Mom of 6, shares her best calendars that work for families, reviewing:
- 1.) iCal/iCloud Calendar
- 2.) Google Calendar
- 3.) Famjama
- 4.) About One
- 5.) Cozi
6. Morning Routine Basket
Put morning grooming on autopilot by organizing all items your children will need each morning. Place all necessary grooming tools in a basket and watch, as your kids quickly and efficiently get ready for school with lightning speed.
Consider these hygiene items to include in the new basket:
- • Toothbrush
- • Toothpaste
- • Dental Floss
- • Hair brush or comb
- • Gel/Mousse/Balm
- • Sunscreen
- • Daily Vitamin
This is one of our favorite back to school tips because it allows your children to easily get ready on their own. Developing a morning routine with these tips will also act as a checklist (helping your kids remember all hygiene steps).
7. Set Aside Time for a Talk About Bullies
You should know that, “One out of every four students report being bullied during the school year.” It’s important for you and your child to discuss bullying and have open communication about the subject.
Pacer.org shares an excellent resource to help you get through this discussion. For the child who is reluctant to talk about the situation, they suggest asking these questions:
- • How was gym class today?
- • Who did you sit by at lunch?
- • You seem to be feeling sick a lot and want to stay home. Please tell me about that.
- • Are kids making fun of you?
- • Are there a lot of cliques at school? What do you think about them?
- • Has anyone ever touched you in a way that did not feel right?
8. Create a Family Dinner Rules Challenge
Has your family grown accustomed to playing with electronics at the dinner table? Start new traditions with the new school year and make an effort to gain more quality time each day.
TheKitchn.com polled readers to see what the top 5 trending family dinner rules are in 2016. Here are the most popular rules to give your family dinner a little TLC:
- 1.) No reading and no screens at the dinner table.
- 2.) Compliment and thank the cook. Be gracious.
- 3.) Have a conversation. Ask questions.
- 4.) Help clean up. (But give the cook a break!)
- 5.) Make at least one meal of the week a special occasion.
9. Organize and Monitor a Study Area
Where does your child currently study and do their homework? On their bed? In the living room with the television playing in the background? On a cluttered desk in their room with a free hand clutching their smartphone?
Create a comfortable (but not too comfortable) study space for your child and foster excellent studying habits. To design a perfect studying environment, follow these popular tips:
- • Have adequate lighting to prevent squinting.
- • Design with a comfortable chair and basic desk.
- • Play instrumental music to enhance focus.
- • Eliminate all tech distractions not needed to study.
- • Place a clock or timer on the desk.
- • Stock the desk with all supplies needed to complete homework.
- • Place a fan and a cozy throw blanket for perfect temperature control.
10. Photo Shoot to Remember New Routines
With all the new routines popping up, your children are sure to forget steps here and there. When it comes to teaching your younger children their new routines, take pictures of them completing each task. Then, you can print out the pictures and store them in an organized routine and chore book. Or, you can create a photo collage or album for your kids to store on their smartphone for easy reference.