How to prepare for back-to-school madness

You’ve had a glorious summer and now it’s time for the back-to-school season to begin. There may be a mixture of excitement and dread going on, but being prepared will help you deal with the highs, the lows and the unforeseens.

Here are a few tips to get you on track before the big day arrives:

  1. Get back into a good routine. Things can get a bit slack over the summer – and that’s OK – but if you don’t regulate meal and sleep times before the back-to-school rush it can really add to the stress of it all. Start gently reintroducing a healthy routine about a week before school begins so you can all adjust accordingly.
  2. Fill out your planner/calendar/journal as much as possible. Make sure you have a comprehensive list of all the upcoming events and important dates written down in one place. If possible, display this somewhere prominent so that you all have a clear idea of what’s to come, avoiding any surprises along the way.
  3. Be restrained with your back-to-school buying. It’s fairly likely that you already have a good few school supplies knocking around the house. Make finding them a fun game for all the family! Remember that a lot of school items are optional, and some may not be needed immediately. If cash is tight, grab the absolute essentials, stagger your buying and consider grabbing a few second-hand bargains.
  4. Plan some fun adventures. Going back to school can be daunting, or even overwhelming at times, for adults and children alike. If you’re feeling a bit low, spend time as a family discussing how you could spend one evening a week or an upcoming weekend doing something really wacky and exciting. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should give you a special moment to look forward to in amongst all the madness.
  5. Talk about the good bits. It can be really exciting to think about having new teachers, new classmates, new friends… even a new pencil case. Try to focus on all the positives of heading back to school and ignore the early starts, constant washing and homework overload for now. If your child is particularly struggling with a certain aspect of school, talk about ways you could make this situation easier to manage. Pray through any issues together and get other kids, parents, relatives, teachers or church members to help out if necessary.

Don’t forget to take the obligatory photos of your kids as they head back to school for another term, though you may want to ask their permission before you post anything on social media (Gwyneth Paltrow learned that lesson the hard way when her daughter publicly objected!). And remember that it won’t take you long to get back into a decent routine. You’ve got this!