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Oregon Family Magazine

Be Back to School Ready!

07/31/2018 ● By Sandy Kauten
Summer is coming to an end and it is time to prepare for the kids to go back to school. The start of a new school year is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for parents. Here are five steps to ensure a smoother transition from summer days to school days.

Take a Look Ahead

Start by taking a look at your upcoming schedule. Make sure you know what time school starts and ends, where to go, and how long it takes to get there. If you have children in more than one school make sure that you address any possible conflicts in your pick up and drop off schedule. Look through the school calendar and take note of important dates and mark them on your family calendar. Make sure older kids know what their day will look like. Will the kids take the bus, walk home, or will you pick them up? Do you need to set up after school care? Having a plan makes parents and kids feel much more at ease as the first day of school approaches.

Adjust Bedtime

Many families become more relaxed over the summer. The kids may have adjusted to staying up later and sleeping in during the summer months and adjusting to a school routine can be difficult. Several weeks before school starts it is wise to start adjusting bedtime and wake up times so that when school begins, they are rested and ready for their new schedule.  Easing into it by moving  bedtime back just 15 minutes a week makes the adjustment easier.

Get the supplies

Acquire a list of school supplies your child will need from your school.  Check the house to see if you have any items on hand and make a list of what you need. Head to the store early to assure the best selection and that the supplies are not already picked over. Many stores sell school supplies at deep discounts before school starts and it may be wise to grab a few extra items to save for later.

Try on Clothes and Shoes

When school begins the weather often feels like summer but temperatures can quickly drop as fall approaches. Have your kids try on their fall and winter clothes to see if new items are needed. Often kids spend most of the summer barefoot or in sandals so don’t forget to make sure their athletic shoes still fit before it’s time for the first P.E. class.


Many schools require forms to be filled out by the parent or by your doctor. They may also need a sports physical or immunization records. Consult your school district to see what is required in advance so you can have these items handy for when your child starts school.

With these items taken care of, your child will be all set for a successful start of the school year.

Cut Down on First Day Anxiety

A new teacher, new classmates, or a new school can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Using some simple strategies, parents can help prepare their children for the first day and ease their concerns.

Start with the basics - When children are well rested and have full tummies and adequate rest, they are better prepared for a busy day.

Talk it through - Allow your child to talk about his feelings. Instead of brushing aside worry, let him know it is natural to be nervous and you will help him adjust to a new school.

Discuss the plan - Walk your child through what she can expect on the first day. Discuss her transportation and  daily schedule at school.

Focus on the positive - Watch your own anxiety on the first day and try to behave in a calm and positive way.

Take a tour - Become familiar with the surroundings, and introduce them to the teacher. This will allow the child to feel more comfortable in their surroundings on the first day.

Encourage friendships - When a child recognizes a friendly face in the classroom, it can make them feel much more at ease. Encourage your child to meet other children in the neighborhood that will be in the same class.

Discuss with teacher - If anxiety persists after the first few days of school, contact the teacher and share your concerns.

Reward for bravery - It takes a lot of courage to try something new and it should be recognized.

Fun Lunch Box Ideas

Are the kids tired of eating the same sandwich every day? Think outside the lunch box and try these fun ideas:

-       Wrap it up - Try a tortilla with meat, cheese, and veggies inside. Get creative with different combinations and sauces.

-       Hot lunch - Purchase a leak proof thermos and send soup or pasta.

-       Salad - Send a pasta or lettuce salad for a fresh change.

-       Dip it - Dips are fun to eat. Try crackers or veggies with hummus, chips and guacamole or salsa, veggies with ranch, or apples and peanut butter.

-       Leftovers - Use up last night’s leftovers and send it to school. Pizza, chicken, and pasta are always a big hit.

-       Different sandwich - Try putting lunch meat and cheese on a bun or sub sandwich or send something unusual like peanut butter and banana.

-       Crackers with meat and cheese - Make your own healthier version rather than buying those expensive prepackaged variety.

-       Kabobs - Use toothpicks or small skewers to make kid friendly kabobs - meat, cheese, grapes, or cherry tomatoes are some fun ideas

-       Quesadillas - Fun to eat and easy to make.

-       Breakfast for lunch - Consider sending your child’s favorite breakfast item in their lunchbox.

by Sarah Lyons.   Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of six living in Kansas City.