Hi! Did you have a nice weekend? I did as I had a wonderful birthday! Having a summer birthday opens up the opportunity to do something summery on my special day. But because it is in the middle of August it always reminds me that it is almost the end of summer. With that thought comes the realization that school is about to begin! There is nothing better than the kiddies having a fresh start in September but I’m seeing now how it is also good for the parents to be ready.
The preschool schedule was a bit to keep up with and now that we will be watching Diego start Kindergarten, we wanted to start off right. As a family, we spent a big part of our weekend organizing and thinking about what we need to get done before Labor Day. As a former teacher, I thought about things that we could do to make everyone’s job a bit easier. Here is the list I made for us to help prepare for the first weeks of school.
1) If you already received the school calendar, fill in the most important dates on your smart phone or work computer calendar as soon as possible.
2) Be social. Meet the parents and add their phone numbers and emails to your contact list. There’s nothing like a school (or classroom) that is really united. These numbers come in handy for play dates, carpools and little emergencies too!
3) Back to school shopping is fun but look at what you have before you set out to buy. We just did inventory on pants (that are not jeans) and polo shirts, button downs and sweaters that still fit for Diego’s uniform. We don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe but only a few things right now!
4) While you’re at number 3, get rid of clutter! We found old toys, workbooks, sticker books, and art supplies when we were going through Diego’s closet. Don’t forget to make a pile of things that are good enough to donate!
5) Clear out areas that will be designated for only homework. The Albert Einstein quote, “If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” does not apply here. Kids need little to no distraction! A nice workspace will also make them feel special and motivated.
6) Go over the school rules. We just talked to Diego about the dress code but we still need to go over the school’s handbook.
7) Make a list of what you would like to ask administrators or teachers during those first orientation or coffee meetings. If your school doesn’t offer this opportunity, see if you can shoot someone an email before the first day of school. This helps your teachers a lot too!
8) Get back to your school-days bed time routine at least one week in advance. Nobody wants to be crabby due to exhaustion on the first days of school.
9) Clean out your fridge! Hahaha! Yes, I realized that as the days got busier, I needed to be even more organized with food. Diego will be running out of school at 3:15 and heading over to after school activities at least twice a week. I need to have certain fruit and veggies washed and cut up, frozen fruit baggies ready for quick smoothies and frozen veggies for quick cooking. Make your life easier without having to spend money on unhealthy stops on your way home. I know families who cook on Sundays and freeze for the week! How organized!
10) Register for fall activities early. They book fast. Now that Diego will be at school all day again, I decided to sign Santi and Jordi up for Music Together. Classes don’t start until October 1st but the time slot I preferred was already booked! Nevertheless, It’s done. Second choice but done.
11) Go to the bookstore and/or library. The seasonal displays featuring great “back-to-school” books should already be out. Books are great conversation starters. These books will trigger questions about the normal anxieties all kids can have regarding the start of a school year. They sometimes even help you answer questions you are not so sure about.
12) Enjoy the last days of summer. Do as much as you can before you send the children off. Make a big deal about going back to school! Celebrate the start of the school year!! After all, it’s fascinating to learn.
Is there anything else that I missed? Would love to hear from parents who have done this for a while. Teacher friends, chime in and let us know what else we can do to help you!