The best back to school tips for parents!

Yes, it's that time of year again!

Whether you're looking forward to the kids going back to school, or are dreading the return of the hustle and bustle, the challenges it brings are inevitable. There are ways to avoid the stress and hassle of getting back into routine, which is what we're sharing with you today.

Below is a collection of the best BTS tips, broken into sections depending on what you're looking for. There's something helpful for everyone here!

For staying organized

- Sign papers and permission slips immediately and then put them back in your child's backpack.

- Have folders prepped and ready to go so you can keep track of different papers and forms. One for homework, one for extra-curricular activities, one for for permission slips, etc. You could even make separate ones for each child.

- If you have a smart speaker at home, take advantage of it's abilities and have it set reminders for you.

- Have a physical, paper day planner that you can carry with you stay on top of your family's schedule.

- Avoid the temptation to over-commit yourself or your kids. It may be difficult but there's nothing worse than saying yes to too many things and then having to back out last minute.

For making mornings a breeze

- Have your kids (and yourself!) pick out their clothing the night before to save time.

- Pre-make breakfast options and put them in the freezer so they are all ready to go at a moments notice. Pancakes, breakfast burritos and frozen smoothie cubes are all great choices.

- Have a breakfast bin for busy mornings that is always stocked up with things like cereal bars and fruit so your kids can grab something as they head out the door.

- Create a bathroom schedule. Take into account when family members wake-up and when they need to leave. 

For tackling lunches like a pro

- Get the kids involved. Have them contribute lunch ideas (these Fruit Pizzas are a kid-favourite!) and even help out with making them.

- Make as much of the lunches ahead of as you can. Having meals prepped and ready to go by Sunday night saves doing it on week nights.

- Take note of the foods your child is quick to gobble up and the ones they're less interested in. You'll save money and frustration.

- Designate a section or your fridge that is just for lunches. It will make things easier to find and keep anyone from grabbing the wrong thing.

For after-school activities

- Get the kids involved in the picking their after-school actives and extracurriculars. Make sure they have activities they want to do and will look forward to.

-  Having an after-school routine is equally important as a morning routine. Set out a clear schedule for things like snack time, homework time and play time.

- Use a timer and incentives to help keep the kids focused on homework. A 5 minute break after 20 minutes of work is a good ratio.

- Keep them busy! Signing kids up for recreational sports, clubs or classes is a great way to keep them from getting bored and builds friendship outside of the classroom.

- Create an after-school play date pool. Connect with other moms who you can take turns hosting play dates with.

For getting back to a regular sleep schedule

- Start early. Don't wait until the night before the first day back to begin re-instating bed times. Two weeks before is ideal. Ease your kids back into it so the change isn't such a shock.

- Create a cut-off time for tech. At least 30 minutes before bedtime have the kids put away the devices to help them wind down and sleep more soundly.

- Make sure everyone has a real alarm clock. This ensures no one sleeps-in and it keeps phones out of the bedroom.

- Check that your kids are still comfortable in their bed. A new year means they are another year older, and have probably grown.

For keeping the house chaos-free

- Re-evaluate how your kids can contribute. As they get older there is more they can help out with.

- Create a system for when everyone arrives home. Have the kids empty their lunch bags, put dirty containers in the sink, put away their coats and shoes, etc.

- Ask for help if you need it. There's no shame in hiring a house cleaning service, tutor or nanny. Those services are available for a reason!

- Use a simple timer to keep your kids on track. Set it for different lengths of time depending on the task they need to complete, and seeing if they can do it before the timer goes off turns chores into a game!

- Label everyone's stuff! Simple name tags are sometimes all it takes to streamline things. Putting them on things like backpacks, water bottles and lunch bags can prevent any scuffles about what belongs to who. 

For getting the kids excited about going to school

- Involve your kids in shopping for school supplies. Letting them pick out their own backpack or pencil case makes the process more fun and gets them excited to use them.

- Talk to them about how they feel about going back to school. What are they excited about? What are they nervous about? Having these conversations ahead of time can reduce a lot of first-day jitters.

- Use positive language when talking about school with your kids. Mention how they will get see their friends more and the fun new things they will learn and do.

- Make the first day back a special one. Let the kids decide what they want for breakfast and what they want to wear. Then if possible do something fun after-school too.

Phew! That was a long one, but we hope you found some useful tips and tricks. We sure did!

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