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Save Navigate Back-to-School Like a Pro

Navigate Back-to-School Like a Pro

Take the stress out of the back-to-school season! Try these 9 back to school hacks to discover back-to-school savings and make the transition for kids and parents!

Navigate Back-to-School Like a Pro

This is shaping up to be the ultimate back-to-school season. With many kids going back to the classroom for the first time in over a year, things will look a little different ... and so will your supply list! 

We've got you covered with tips and tricks to crushing this back-to-school season like a pro.

Pro Tip #1: Create a DIY lunch and snack station

Save time and teach your kids independence by putting snack and lunch items in dedicated areas so they can help themselves, whether it's prepping their lunch or getting an after-school snack. A low cupboard works great for non-perishable foods, lunch boxes, baggies, storage containers, and water bottles. Choose an area in the fridge for meats, cheese sticks, precut veggies, and yogurt. Bonus tip: Ask for the kids' input on what foods they'd like to see in the rotation. 

Pro Tip #2: Embrace evening readiness for the win!

This is such a simple but often overlooked tip. After a long day, it's easier to say, "I'll do it in the morning" than asking (and re-asking) the kids to get their outfits ready and backpacks by the door. Instead, try doing a few quick things the night before. They take very little time but make a huge impact at 7 am on a busy Tuesday.

  • Put backpacks by the door (or in the car).
  • Pack lunch boxes, minus the refrigerated items.
  • Pre-assemble outfits, from hair accessories to footwear, and leave on a chair.
  • Set out plates and bowls for breakfast.

Pro Tip #3: Make a car survival kit

Even with the best-laid plans, life happens. Knees get scraped running to the car, kids leave their pencils and pens behind, or forget to brush their teeth after eating last night's leftover garlic bread for breakfast (we're kidding ... not really!). You'll inevitably forget your wallet or that the gas tank is empty. 

A well-stocked car kit will you avoid disaster on "those mornings":

  • First-aid supplies
  • Pens and pencils
  • Granola bars
  • A sealed bottle of water
  • A few hair ties 
  • Gum or mints
  • Tissues
  • $20 cash

Pro Tip #4: Invest in over-the-door organizers

Yes, these were first developed to hold shoes, but they are super multifunctional. 

  • Use them in the pantry to store snacks, spices, plastic bags. 
  • In your child's closet, they can hold small items like socks, underwear, or small toys.
  • Keep daily hair accessories, deodorant, and makeup more visible and tidy in the bathroom. 
  • Use in the playroom for arts and crafting supplies like crayons, markers, stickers, and glue. 

Need more inspiration? Check Pinterest for more ideas than you can ever use.  

Pro Tip #5: Build a school supply stash

Yes, the school supply list is endless. But the back-to-school season is the prime time to build a stash of crayons, notebooks, and poster board for mid-year use. Stores use school supplies as loss-leaders, offering items at rock-bottom prices to get you in the door. None of these things expire, and they don't take up much space. Why buy a box of crayons for $3 in January when you can buy a bunch for .50 cents now? 

Pro Tip #6: Have a dedicated homework area

Whether everyone sits at the dining room table or you give each kid a desk in their room, make sure there's one place where they always sit to do their homework. Keep a small basket or caddy stocked with the things they usually need like pencils, crayons, paper, a ruler, and a dictionary. This keeps them more efficient, and you from running around looking for Scotch tape all day. 

Pro Tip #7: Familiarize the kids with anything new

For some kids, the school year brings a new teacher and classroom. For others, it's a whole new school, bus route, or after-school plan. Try to attend those summer playdates that the PTA plans. If you're changing schools, ask for a walk-through and to meet the principal and homeroom teacher. If you've moved to a new neighborhood, walk, bike, or drive the new route a few times to get it down. 

Pro Tip #8: Launch a family command center

Decide on a central location where you can hang up a family calendar (with all important school dates marked), emergency phone numbers, school handbooks, info sheets for babysitters, and anything else that should be easily accessible. Teach the kids that important papers like field trip slips and report cards should be put there, rather than the first flat surface they find. 

Pro Tip #9: Start following your school routine two weeks before school begins

Last but not least, figure out your routine and begin following it at least two weeks before the first day of school. Some things you should practice include:

  • Morning wake-up times (pre-make the coffee!)
  • Breakfast 
  • Out-the-door routine
  • After-school and homework routine
  • Dinner time
  • Bath and bedtime routine 

After months of lazy mornings, it's a shock to the system to change all at once. Two weeks gives your family time to adjust and work out any kinks in the plan. 

Kiss chaos goodbye this back-to-school season!

Baby steps! Choose one of these tips to try this week. Then add new ones as you get closer to school. Tweak them to fit your unique situation. Maybe you have a newborn, maybe you homeschool full-time, or maybe you're heading into the high school home stretch. Once you find what works, embrace it and savor the time and sanity savings.