When school is out, the kids will play (and so will the parents). Camp, vacation, pool time—all of these things make getting back into the swing of things for fall more than just not easy; they make it all-out challenging. To ease your way back into the fall routine (morning wake-up calls, homework, and a steady bedtime), back-to-school tips come in handy. And instead of just suggesting some things that may (or may not) work, we decided to tap some of the busiest (read: coolest) moms we know for their favorite tips for adjusting to school mode.
From slowly instituting earlier wake-up times to going back-to-school shopping, these moms are dishing on how they are making school time something to be excited for. Chances are, your little ones will appreciate these tricks as much as their kids do. Bookmark this page and send it to all of your fellow parents because these back-to-school tips are going to make this year's summer-to-fall transition your easiest yet.
Best Back-to-School Tip: Keep a similar routine year-round.
What I Do: In the morning I have a set routine for myself and always eat breakfast with both of my kids. My daughter Isla Rose is only in preschool, but I've found that signing her up for activities like ballet and tumbling while she is on break helps keep her in a routine.
Why It Works: No one really has to get back on schedule once school starts. Since we keep a similar routine, the kids don't know any different.
Extra Credit: I make sure I show my own excitement about going back to school and ensure my work schedule allows me to drop her off. It has also helped to have her cousin in her class—she can't wait to go to school in the morning!
Best Back-to-School Tip: Set a fall routine that your kids are comfortable with well before school starts.
What I Do: I've found that my kids do really well when they have some sort of daily routine that they are comfortable with—one that both their minds and bodies are adjusted to.
Why It Works: My kids behave and perform better (and are really just happier overall) when they are on a schedule.
Extra Credit: Don't delay. Start making baby steps as the summer gets closer to ending so that by the time school comes around, they're ready.
Best Back-to-School Tip: Include the kids in back-to-school prep.
What I Do: I let them pick out a new lunch box, backpack, and water bottle so they're excited to use them. We also make a family calendar together and mark off fun events to look forward to during the school year (like dressing up for Halloween!).
Why It Works: Just like adults have a hard time coming back from vacation, kids have a hard time getting back to the routine of school. I like to make it fun and exciting by letting them be a part of it. Kids are so often told what to do, it's nice to give them something to be in charge of—like picking out new school gear.
Extra Credit: For the first week of school, I leave notes in their lunches (although I do this frequently throughout the year), and plan something fun for the following weekend so they have something to look forward to.
Best Back-to-School Tip: Get wake-up times and bedtimes set a few weeks in advance.
What I Do: I prep my son by waking him up earlier starting at least a week or two before the first day of school. He loves school—the hard part is getting him out of bed in the morning.
Why It Works: If his body's clock has him up earlier naturally, there is a lot less frustration getting him out the door in the morning.
Extra Credit: I start slowly. I wake him up with something fun on the agenda for the day like a trip to the park so he really wants to jump out of bed.
Best Back-to-School Tip: Limit tech time gradually.
What I Do: I incrementally decrease TV and video game time.
Why It Works: It creates a simple transition, and before we know it, it's back to school.
Extra Credit: On the first day of school, we blast music and sing at the top of our lungs before he starts the day to get out any jitters.
Best Back-to-School Tip: Mentally prepare my child (and myself) for the school year in a subtle way.
What I Do: I buy a few new back-to-school themed books and work them into the bedtime story mix. I also cue up all the school-related episodes of her favorite shows like Doc McStuffins, Sesame Street, and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and weave those in whenever there's some downtime.
Why It Works: Our summers are unhinged. Cameron spends a few weeks in Chicago with her grandmother, we do two different camps in New York, bedtimes are a suggestion, and we eat way too many ice pops! Getting back into the routine of school is difficult for both of us, so it helps to feel prepared.
Extra Credit: She's so attached to her favorite cartoon characters, so sometimes I let them explain how cool it is to start the new school year.
To get back into the fall swing of things, read about real moms' best bedtime rituals.