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Have you seen the back to school supplies at all the local retailers? When I first see the school supplies going up, I usually do not feel ready for back to school; yet as I look at the calendar and each day passes I know it will be here before I know it, so it is easier if I just embrace the change and get in the back to school mode.

I hope you all have had a fun summer vacation! Here are some tips to help you prepare and plan for back to school, I hope you find them helpful. Feel free to share any other things that your family does to prepare for back to school in the comment section.

Start bedtime and wake up routine 2 weeks before school starts. I know with summer break it is fun to let the kids stay up a little later than normal and sleep in. It is important to practice your school bedtime and wake up routine before the first day of school, not only for the kids to get back in the habit but also for you the parent getting them ready. This will make the transition back to school smoother for everyone. It helps them prepare mentally for going back to school.

Pray for your child’s teacher and classmates. We have always prayed for the right teacher for our children and it has amazed me each year, there has been two specific times where, we were certain of the teacher they were going to have, it was already set, we had met the teacher but even with that, we prayed during summer break and a change took place weeks before school started and it ended up being some of the most memorable teachers that my boys have had and I know it is a result of praying and trusting God to have the right teacher for that specific child. It does not have to be a lengthy prayer, we simply say “Thank you God for the right teacher for (insert child’s name), thank you for all the right class mates, thank you for godly influence upon their life and for a fun, educational and blessed school year.” You can make this part of your bedtime routine or even incorporate into the blessing you speak over your meals.

Clean out and prepare your pantry for lunch and snack packing. Prepare for packing lunches and snacks by stocking your cupboards and make sure you have the necessary supplies, Ziploc bags, or reusable containers for packing those school lunches. Have your sticky notes handy for those lunch notes to send with your children. My favorite thing to use for school lunches are those plastic containers that have compartments, it cuts back on the use of Ziploc bags and my kids love them. If you have a kindergartner starting, practice with them opening their lunch containers and back packs, especially if they have never taken lunch before. Start searching for lunch box ideas, I find it helpful to make a list and keep it on the refrigerator of lunch food items and then I have a rotating variety to go through.

Have a spot where you set out school clothes the night before. My kids wear school uniforms which makes getting ready in the morning much easier than picking out an outfit but even with school uniforms, setting it out the night before and having socks and shoes ready to go, makes the mornings smoother. If you have a specific spot, on top of their dresser, maybe on a hanger on a hook, or on a night stand, it helps both you and the kids stay organized and prepared. Also have a designated area where backpacks will go, so they don’t have to search in the morning for their backpack and so they know where they go after school and you don’t have them laying around the house.

Get a head start on back to school shopping, don’t wait until the last minute. Shop as soon as you see those back to school sales hit the stores. Not only will you get first pick of the supplies, I find this is especially important when it comes to backpacks and lunch boxes. You also won’t be rushed the week before back to school trying to get everything. I have done back to school shopping a few different ways, find what works best for you. Sometimes going to one store and getting all the supplies at once, makes it easy and less time consuming. Sometimes, if you can shop a little each week, most stores will have “special” deals on a few items each week where those items will be at the lowest cost. Remember to pick up extra supplies while they are on sale, this comes in handy to replenish throughout the year as well as if you do not end up using them during the year you will have a head start for the following school year.

Print out or order those “First Day of” Signs for first day pictures. If you like to take those memorable first day of school pictures, prepare ahead of time, even the day before, make sure you have your camera ready, batteries charged, and if you want a sign that says the grade and date have it printed out ahead of time, or you can order signs on Etsy Shops and many blog sites, Pinterest is a great place to search for ideas. Don’t wait till the night before to get ready, have as much done as you can ahead of time.

Prepare a homework station. If you have all the tools in a central location it makes homework easier so you do not have to search for glue or scissors or any other items. You can purchase a small bin or container to hold all the necessary supplies for homework such as: crayons, markers, pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, ruler, scissors, glue and anything else your child may need. You can find colorful containers at the dollar store and many times right in the back to school section of your local retailer. Also designate a spot for backpacks.

Do something fun the weekend before as a family. With going back to school and getting back to earlier bed times and homework, plan some fun family things the week before or at least the weekend before back to school. Visit your local swimming pool, go out for pizza, camp out in the backyard or in the front living room. Enjoy the extra non-structured time you have now with your children. I know once school starts, the evenings seem shorter and a little more hectic with homework, and after school activities, so enjoy and savor the moments where you have extra time to spend together without feeling rushed by schedules and to do lists. Read a book together about the grade they are going in. I know we have read a kindergarten and “Going into First Grade Book” this year.

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