How can you prepare your kids for a perfect back-to-school season?

Try these tips for back-to-school this fall—you’ll thank us later.


Back to School

School backpack full of school supplies is ready for back to school

Even though it’s looming all summer long, going back to school always seem to sneak up on you. A new school year is usually packed with emotions for both kids and parents. If this sounds familiar, we’ve got some tips to help you.

A few weeks or days in advance:

Talk to your kids about what to expect this year
One of the scariest things is the unknown. Give them a heads up on what they might encounter in the first few months of school. And if you’re not really sure what they may deal with academically or socially, you could benefit from this learning resource on parenting. It offers help on various parenting topics from ages two through eight.

Do a school walk-through
If it’s accessible, take a special trip to the school the week before school starts to show your kids where their new classes will be. You can follow the routes they’ll take from their classroom to the lunch room or to the bus—it helps them be less nervous about getting lost. And the kids who get homesick will know their parents know exactly where they’ll be.

For older kids who are transitioning to a different school (like middle school, junior high, or high school), help them find their way through a bigger school environment and show them how to open a locker.

Make it a special occasion
Whatever your family enjoys doing together, have a school-year kick-off a night or two before the first day. That could be a family feast, a swim party, or a hike together. The celebration says goodbye to summer and starts the new school year with something fun.

Related: Sleep Tips for Back to School

Have a playdate with one of their classmates
If they don’t know anyone in their class or even if it’s been all summer since they’ve seen classmates, a playdate can help your child feel more comfortable knowing there will be a familiar and friendly face at school.

Prep a make-your-own-lunch station
There never seems to be enough time in the morning before school. But a little prep work in advance can eliminate some frantic scurrying. Have your kids help! Fill bins with different snacks and foods so they can easily pick options from the bins to get their own lunch ready.

Create a schedule
Visual schedules can be powerful for kids. It shows them what to expect and look forward to at school. Creating a calendar with the day’s activities gives your child(ren) a visual timetable of the day ahead.

Related: Crunching Numbers for Back to School

The night before:

Set out clothes
For the first day (or maybe week) of school, have your kids make the hard decisions the night before: like choosing which new outfit they’re going to wear first. Oh, and make sure they find both shoes the night before—you know how shoes have a funny way of vanishing.

Prepare a make-ahead breakfast
This will save you time and could give you a few extra minutes to have a sit-down breakfast with your child—making that first day of school something special. Serve a breakfast prepared ahead of time to make the first day stress-free.

Remember: Those first few hectic weeks will slow down as life returns to normal again. What back-to-school tricks have worked for you?