The Mint Chip Mama’s Back To School Tips!
As summer fades like a sunset, we are reminded that September – and back to school – is on the horizon.
It will be here before we know it.
Starting to get ready NOW will help in the fight against being scrambling parents. Like the parent who you were last year. Remember? Begging stores to stay open five more minutes while we dug around for the last hidden box of crayons.
This year stand strong! I fully believe with some simple preparation, we can all become solid back to school prepared machines. This means come day one, bags will be packed, shoes will fit, and our children will have all things needed to be sharpened ready to go.
To help in this dream I present to you five back to school tips to help get you and your family ready.
Calling all moms and dads, back to school assemble!
Back To School Tips, Tip #1: Buy New Backpacks NOW
If you are like me, you have an annual “heated debate” with your child about getting a new backpack. I always like to begin my rebuttal with “What about this bag? You know, the one you BEGGED me for last year and swore you would use until college?”. But as expected, I often lose to puppy dog eyes bringing me to agree every two years. The best sales (and biggest selection) start in August so look around now. With online shopping it is so easy to compare prices and order a few choices. This also takes away some of the sting from the overwhelming backpack wall in the store.
Then, once the school supply lists come out, we head to the stores for everything else. Next, we come home and begin our fan favorite annual tradition of setting up a “back to school store” in the basement (toy cash register included). My kids LOVE this, take turns shopping and ringing each other up, and do not even notice when I sneak in some old stuff to save a little money.
Back To School Tips, Tip #2: Teach Your Kids How To Make Lunch NOW
Making lunch is arguably one of the biggest chores for parents. Yes, yes there are the parents who embrace gorgeous, Instagrammable bento boxes, but come on, the rest of us are just staring into the fridge abyss praying for creativity to strike.
When I had my third kid, my oldest was in kindergarten. Somehow the idea came up for her to make her own lunch one day. Probably because I was doing nine things at once. Bam! Thus began the most liberating outsourcing of all time. Now with that said, sometimes they buy lunch, and sometimes we make something special for them. But for the most part, it is sandwich time with a side order of pride. Funny enough, I had no idea this would become so empowering. My eight-year-old takes such pride in making his own lunch, it is really cute.
So how do we do this safely? We leave bread on the counter, and they spread ingredients (often cream cheese and jelly) with a butter knife. Since they are making it, they can make whatever they would like (read: guaranteed to be something they will eat). Now, here is the real secret: our deal is that if they make their own lunch, they can “sneak” in a piece of candy for dessert. Luckily, it gets them every time.
Back To School Tips, Tip #3: Research and Register for Extra-Curricular Activities NOW
Extracurricular classes and sports are a great way for kids to learn fun things and be team players. With that said, we all have that one class in our town that sells out during early bird registration – often before the school year even begins. With online registration available for most things now it is so easy to quickly look it up and set a calendar for yourself once registration opens. I send myself the link too, so I do not have to think at all when the time comes. In addition, registering early may save you some money – a fun side of gravy.
Back To School Tips, Tip #4: Start Reading With Your Kids Every Night NOW
Reading is one of the things your kids (pick a word: loves, fights about, refuses to do, embraces). Yes, reading is challenging for many kids, but I believe modeling reading for pleasure is the first step in getting your kids to read willingly. I am a big reader but often do not have the time. However, I always tell my kids to read. This is especially true during the school year when reading is part of their homework. One day my son invited me to read with him. It kind of stopped me in my tracks. So, we started reading together on the couch before bedtime.
Of course, this does not happen every night, but they see that reading can be fun. It is something we can do together, and it has become something we WANT to do together. Starting this tradition in August, will set them up for reading success in school because they will already be in the groove.
Back To School Tips, Tip #5: Keep Flexing That Brain Muscle With Workbooks NOW
Every morning after eating breakfast my kids do one workbook page. It gets their brains moving so they do not suffer from the dreaded “summer slump.” This summer we have been using workbooks from Popular Book USA. I believe the key to success here is finding fun books in the subjects they enjoy. I can tell you it worked because if you want to know the truth – most days they ask to do a second page!
My son (going into first grade) has the Complete Math Success, Complete English Success, and Complete Curriculum Success for Grade 1. As you can imagine, since brothers need everything equal, my son (going into fourth grade) has Complete Math Success, Complete English Success, and Complete Curriculum Success for Grade 4. Remember – you do not want to fight about this and make it seem like schoolwork, you just want them to exercise their brain muscle a little bit for some memory maintenance. Plus, these books are so robust I think they will make a nice compliment to their homework once school begins.
Back To School Here We Come!
The bottom line is – much like everything in life, it helps to be prepared. These five simple back to school tips will get you ahead of the game so when September rolls around you are ready to rock.
Of course, by “ready,” I mean ready to drive your kids to the thousands of activities you signed them up for and ready to tell them to get their shoes on AGAIN because the bus is rounding the corner and it’s time to gooooooo!
More Resources For Back to School
What else can parents do to set their kids up for success? Getting involved is the best way to start. You might even get a bench as a thank you! No matter how much time you have, your PTA, PA, or PTO needs your help. Get involved – even 15 minutes can make your child’s school a better place. Often things can be done on your own time so if work schedules are challenging you can still make it happen.
Continuing the home to school connection, here are some great resources to help set your child up for success. Whether they are starting Kindergarten, 1-3 grades, or your family is focusing on homeschool these links should help!
Giveaway For Back To School!
Popular Book Company USA is running TWO great giveaways to celebrate Back to School! The first is a giveaway for an NFL Jersey and $50 in workbooks on The Mint Chip Mama’s Instagram. The second is a giveaway for a Google chromebook and $50 in workbooks on Popular Book Company’s Instagram.
Click here to win the Google chromebook and $50 in workbooks.
Both winners will be picked August 31, 2022.