Are You Ready for Back to School?

It’s already that time of year again. It may feel like school just ended, but before you know it school will be back in session. Depending on where you live, school may start in August or September, but it helps to be prepared no matter what. The summer holiday can simultaneously feel both long and short, but don’t let the first day back to school sneak up on you! Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming school year.

Stock Up on Supplies… Early

There’s nothing like going to the store the day before, or even the day of, the first day of school and finding nothing on your child’s school supply list. Depending on how old your child is and how their school works, some kids receive school supply lists at different times. Usually, elementary schools assign classes the year before and provide children with supply lists and summer reading assignments before the summer even begins. It helps to tackle these lists as soon as possible, especially since many of the things you need will be in short supply the closer it gets to the first day of class.

But not everyone has the luxury of knowing what to get beforehand. Many kids do not receive supply lists until their first day of school, which is more common in middle or high schools. In this case, you can still make sure you’re prepared. Get the basics as soon as possible, or stock up on things like loose-leaf, binders, notebooks, pens, and pencils during the year – especially when you see them on sale. You can always store these go-to items away until they are needed. Items like these will not go to waste, either, even if you’re child doesn’t need them. You can repurpose binders for recipes, notebooks for to-do lists, or you can always donate your excess supplies to those in need.

Plan a Wardrobe

Whether your child still needs help dressing or they are old enough to dress themselves, it helps to have some go-to outfits ready. The first week or so back to school is bound to be hectic, and getting back into that morning routine can be difficult to master at first. Having some outfits planned in advance can at least make getting dressed in the morning much easier and can help save time.

At the end of the summer, take a look at your child’s clothing, even stuff that may be put away for winter. Take an inventory of the things they have, things they need, and things that may need to be replaced. Items like winter coats and boots are cheaper in the summer when many stores are getting rid of the years’ stock with major sales before they launch their official “back to school” deals. Parents can easily score expensive necessities like coats and jackets before they’re ever needed, and they can be put away until the weather changes, too.

For older kids, planning a wardrobe may require some patience. Kids in middle school and high school may be more interested in keeping up with trends and sometimes the latest back-to-school or fall styles aren’t obvious until that time of year comes around. For kids looking to be cool, parents can still stock up on basics early on so they can pick a few choice pieces once the new seasons’ looks debut.

Plan Lunches

Even if school itself is still a few weeks off, it may help to begin thinking about what kind of lunches you can pack for the new school year. Now is the time to try new things and begin making certain things so you can get an idea of what your child will want to eat, as well as how long it takes to prepare, so you can easily add lunch prep to your back-to-school schedule.

Study Spaces

Make sure your child has a place to do homework and get their assignments done. For kids with summer reading assignments and other projects, it helps to have a place for them to do this work where they can easily continue to do homework once school comes around. For kids without summer work, having a space for writing or crafts can help get kids used to working in a particular space and doing a certain kind of activity.

Having a designated space to do schoolwork is also helpful because you don’t want to be scrambling come the first week of school to find a place for your child to get stuff done. It helps if you don’t have to clear off a cluttered table or create a makeshift corner in a room for homework at the last minute, and it may contribute to putting things off early.

Do Your Own Homework

Parents should look into what their child’s upcoming curriculum will look like. This way, parents know what to expect in terms of workload, subject matter, and they can make sure there kids are prepared for anything that may come their way. Look at whether your child will be taking any standardized tests or will need to complete any big projects. If your child struggled with a particular subject the previous year, you may want to consider getting a tutor or taking advantage of summer library programs before school starts up again. It also helps to look into after-school and library programs that will be offered during the school year, too, so you can work in any extra activities your child may need or want to participate in to your s

Big Kid Milestones to Celebrate

When it comes to milestones for children, many parents focus on things like first steps or first words. These are great accomplishments and are certainly worth celebrating, but there are other milestones that are also worth a huzzah. As children get older, they become more complex and independent individuals. Recognizing the steps they take towards becoming their own people are just as worthy of celebration as their first day of school. Not everything needs cake and a party, but letting your kids know that their growth is acknowledged in a special way can be incredibly beneficial to their personal growth.

Joining a Club or Sport

When your child engages in an activity, they are not only building a skill but they are also flexing their teamwork muscles, too. Whether they have joined a soccer league, the girl scouts, decided to participate in an after-school program for art and crafts or even decided to enter the science fair, it is a sign that your child is interested in learning more about their own interests, and exploring what opportunities for growth and friendship these activities might give them. Kids may not realize the weight of what they are doing, but even deciding to take up a sport or hobby simply because it looks fun is a big step towards making their own decisions and being their own person.

Stepping Up to the Self-Care Plate

When kids are younger, they need help getting dressed, brushing their teeth or getting a glass of water. There are many of these micro-activities that kids need guidance with when they are younger, but it should be noticed when they begin to do these things all by themselves. It not only shows initiative but it also shows that they are growing into their responsibilities as a person, too. These activities can become more meaningful as your kids age, and to them it may not seem like a big deal but many parents would jump for joy if they saw their child pour their own milk and cereal for breakfast or take it upon themselves to clean their room.

Reading A Chapter Book

Reading can be difficult, and depending on where your child fits on the reading spectrum different milestones may come with different feats. Kids who have difficulty reading or are slow learners, reading a chapter book on their own is a big deal. Plus, the confidence boost that comes with this milestone may help encourage them to practice and keep reading.

For kids who are natural readers and enjoy the activity, reading full chapter books may not be all that unusual. Trying something unique such as personalized chapter books, starring them as the main character can motivate them to read more. Also trying something above their skill level or out of their comfort zone should be applauded, too.

Riding a Bike

This is a classic, but it is a tradition that every parent should celebrate with their child. Whether your child is testing out their first training wheels or finally ready to take theirs off, learning to ride a bike is a big deal and it helps encourage kids to stay active.

Showing Some Sympathy

Sometimes parents need to coax their children into looking at situations a certain way and guide their behaviors to a certain degree. For instance, if you have multiple kids and they get into a fight, it may be your job as parent to be the mediator. But if you see your child apologizing, offering sympathy, or simply being nice to their sibling or someone else without needing any prompt to do so, it should certainly be celebrated. This is an expression of emotional growth that should be encouraged and can help kids grow into more understanding and empathetic people.

Activities to Improve Kids’ Writing Skills

Reading skills are essential, but they go hand-in-hand with writing skills. Boosting one skill can help improve the other, plus writing can help better your child’s overall communication skills as well. There are several activities you can encourage your children to partake in that can help them improve their writing and reading skills.

Start Simple and Get Reading

Kids who read books and varied materials such as magazines and word games tend to be better at writing as well. Reading can help kids get a feel for how language works, as well as a deeper understanding of the English language by reading a variety of different material. Not only do kids develop writing skills through reading, but also kids can develop skills like empathy and understanding when they read about different characters, which can contribute directly to their ability to communicate well with others.

Encourage Them to Document Their Lives

Journaling is lauded as a highly therapeutic activity for people of all ages, but it also gives kids an easy topic to write about. Getting them into the habit of writing about their day can help them form a habit of keeping a journal, which has also proven to improve memory and can help kids better understand their own feelings and emotions. Plus, having a journal from when they were young can be a really special memento for them to have when they’re older.

Make It Fun!

Word games like riddles, crossword puzzles and word jumbles can be both brain bending as well as fun. These sorts of games can also help to improve problem solving skills, vocabulary, and spelling too.

Write Letters

Writing letters is a bit antiquated, but they are still very much appreciated. Skills that come along with letter writing can be helpful as your kids get older, too. Writing letters to grandparents and friends make for great gifts and sweet surprises when they arrive in the mail. The art of writing a proper letter can still come in handy when it comes time for your kids to learn how to write essays in high school and college as well as resumes and other documents as an adult.

Make Some Space

Like any activity, it helps to make it special by designating a certain spot to write in. Create a fun, customized/customizable writing space that can encourage your kids to get in the zone. Supply it with notebooks, pencils and other gear – and to make it feel less like school work you can splurge on the colored pens, markers, and other supplies that may not be allowed on their back-to-school list but can still have plenty of fun with at home.

Give Them Some Ideas

Even professional writers use writing prompts now and then. You can give your child some ideas for poems, short stories, or even journal entries by giving them words to use, using a picture for inspiration, or asking them specific questions.