Heading Back to School Tips

I often get asked how I prepare for back to school. With 5 kids it does take preparation and I think about back to school all year long. Really.

– If you haven’t already gotten your kids back to their school year bedtime now is the time to start heading them off to bed 15 minutes earlier each night. Forget the getting up early part while you can though. 

In our house we observe strict bedtimes all year long (for mama’s sanity), but this year bedtime routines have slipped a little more than I like. I’ve already started to get the kids in the habit of early bedtimes, now to withstand the pleading from the teens for just one more hour of internet. There is always an extra chore or two that need to be done. I don’t wake the kids up at 6 am though. I figure that torture is best left until it’s absolutely necessary. That extra hour or two in the morning keeps me refreshed enough to tackle the days with all 5 home.

Shop early, and off season, but only for some things.

I buy lunch kits, backpacks, shoes, clothes and various coloring pens when they go on sale. My best tip is use last year’s lunchboxes for the first month of school and catch the post back to school season sales to stock up for the coming year and next if you can afford it.

Use Flipp to score the best price on back to school supplies.

This time of the year Staples has rock bottom prices on most of the items my kids need for school. Binders though I head straight to Walmart where they are half the price. The Flipp app helps me plan my shopping day from the comfort of home saving me time and money.

Make a day of shopping.

My kids get all excited and want to go shopping with me but if I want to get everything on the list and get it done as fast as possible I don’t dare take them all at once. When possible I try to make a day of it by taking one or two of the kids and making a day of it. We grab lunch, or an overpriced beverage and snack, and then do a little shopping. It’s a great way to fit in some bonding time while geting things done.

– Skip the Sharpies; buy Mabel’s Labels. 

No more sharpies OK? I know from talking with teachers that they prefer the labels, plus they are easier and cuter to boot. I have some for each of the kids and the hand cramps they save me from make every penny spent worth while.  Plus they last forever, I have labels on rulers from more than 4 years ago that are still going strong. Follow them on Facebook to catch their sales and on twitter for their bin cleanouts.

– Get kids ready for the bus/car ride and go over safety rules.

My kids take a bus every day. I make sure to sit down with them a few times before school starts to go over the safety rules of taking a bus and even do dry runs of waiting. If your kids walk to school or are part of  a carpool go over road safety and being a polite passenger.

– Now is a good time to get the kids into the homework habit.

My kids have been playing on Xbox all summer and reading up a storm but a few weeks before school starts we like to sit down and do spelling, times tables and problem solving; all in fun game forms. PAIRSinPEARS is a great game for spelling, baking teaches math, and Clue is a fun way to problem solve. I think the kids like the treats that result from baking the most though.

– Do one last fun family activity before the hustle and bustle of school gets into full swing.

Head out to your favourite local attraction, pack a picnic or hit the road for a little rest and relaxation in a new local. Even if it’s just an afternoon away from routines it’s a fun way to bid adieu to a summer that seemed to fly by.


What do you do to get your kids ready for back to school?

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