Students everywhere are heading back to school - and it's not just their parents who are planning ahead! Recently I sent a package to my seven year-old goddaughter in the Caribbean. The school term in Trinidad began this week and my goddaughter insisted that she had to have "everything Minion". So, I did what every godmother does, I gave my her exactly what she requested. I purchased a backpack, a lunch kit, pencils, erasers, notepads, notebooks, and a puzzle. Upon speaking to her mother, we began to reminisce about our days in school. All the things our family had us do which, at that time, seemed overbearing and unnecessary, we now look at as completely necessary.
As a parent, it is easy to fall into the trap of purchasing everything new in order to keep your kids happy, and help boost that enthusiasm for going back to school. As a child growing up, buying new school supplies was a way for us to fit in - it also provided us with a sense of independence and uniqueness. It was a new class, a new term, a new age gap and no one wanted to feel as though they were being left behind. Take this opportunity to get to know what your child likes, and while you don't necessarily have to buy everything brand new, try to keep it fresh and exciting for your child.
As an adult, I appreciate the fact that I wore a uniform from Montessori until I graduate high school. I never had to pick out clothes for school unless it was Dress Down Day or the School Bazaar. I ironed my uniform for the entire week and prepped my undergarments in a specific school drawer. If your child is not going to a school with a uniform, sit with them give them the opportunity to pick out their clothes for the week. If they are much younger, let them pick for a specific day. That gives them a small sense of individuality and responsibility. Help them prepare for the satisfying process of working through a task to completion - ease them in to the school experience gently!
My mother was the queen of meal prep. Just as most families in the U.S. have Sunday dinner, families in Trinidad have Sunday Lunch. Moms tend to cook extra so they can put away food or meal prep for their kids for school for the week. Cooking is a wonderful way to spark creativity with your kids meal and getting them to eat healthy. Bake desserts with your kids (cookies, cakes, pies, etc.), cook with your kids - let them be proud of their school lunches!
There are times when we, as adults, have woken up late and tried to hustle and rely on our memories to tell us what we need as we leave the house. However, in the midst of our rushing we have also forgotten our most essential things. That’s why it is imperative the we pack our stuff or set up our things for easier access the night before. By doing this with your child, it helps them to remember exactly what they need for the next day, and instills responsibility.
To keep books lasting longer, wrap them with brown Kraft paper. It also allows for creativity from the child. They can add stickers, colors, rainbows, whatever their favorite character is.
We all know that the back to school checklist can seem endless. These tips are only a few way to ensure back to school is seamless, fun, and effective. Take the time this year to make back to school a family affair, and make this a year you'll never forget!