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Get organized for back to school

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Best back-to-school tips

The end of summer creeps up quickly, and we want you to be ready! Check out our tips for how to get organized for back to school. From shopping to cleaning to lunches, we're here to help you avoid stress and get your family on track for the school year.
Mom in front of school bus

Establish a morning routine

Summer is often the antithesis of routine — everyone sleeps in, alarms are nonexistent and you grab a bite to eat when you have time in between jumping into the pool or playing video games. But one of the hardest things about getting ready to go back to school is getting people up, dressed, fed and out the door on time. The remedy: Establish a morning routine that works before the first day of school.

  • Start having your kids get up a bit earlier each day until they're once again used to waking up with an alarm.
  • Make breakfast a morning must. Stock up on simple but nutritious breakfast options and insist on everyone eating before they disperse for the day. Note: This includes you, not just the kids.
  • If they're old enough, have your kids start choosing the next day's outfit the night before. This is a great way to speed things up when the school rush hits for real.
Note: You can reassess needs after the first few weeks of school. If anything important was overlooked, buy it mid-month.

Access school supply needs

Now is a great time to start looking at what your kids have and what they need in terms of school supplies. Make a list with your kids of everything they think they're going to need for the year ahead, from pens and notebooks to bags, clothes and electronics. Then have them gather up whatever they can find from last year and lay it all out on a large table (not including clothes or shoes). This is where you can decide what the shopping priorities are. Is the computer from two years ago really out of date? Do last year's gym shoes really need to be replaced? Make a list of all the must-buys and use that as your back-to-school shopping guide. That way you won't end up shopping for things your kids don't really need.

School suppliesStart shopping

Back-to-school shopping rivals Christmas for crowds and stress. Beat the rush and get shopping as soon as you assess what everyone needs. That way you won't be ultra-stressed from trying to get everything you need three days before school starts. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a line that wraps around the store just to get the right pencil case and binder that your little one "has" to have.

Quick tip: Don't be afraid to get creative. Instead of regular bread, use pitas and wraps, switch up luncheon meats for grilled chicken or tofu, fill sandwiches with grated carrot, sprouts, hummus and other healthy spreads to really boost taste and health factor.

Get school lunch savvy

Making lunches is probably one of the most stressful aspects of the school year for many parents. What to make and how to keep lunches tasty and nutritious can be frustrating. We suggest coming up with a weekly menu with your kids and start test-driving options now. Make potential school sandwiches for lunch for the family before the school year starts so kids can let you know what they like — and what they don't.

Clean house

As soon as school starts, your kitchen table and counter will likely be a mess of papers, permission forms, tests, books and homework. Be prepared for the onslaught by cleaning house. Create spots for important school papers, make sure there's ample room for coats, shoes and school bags, and have kids do a thorough cleaning of their rooms before the first day of school. It's also a great idea to ensure closets are organized (get rid of anything they no longer wear, put summer items into storage) and organize as much as possible so the first few days run smoothly.

More back to school

Back to school treats kids love
Healthy kids: Back to school nutrition basics
Lunchbox boredom busters

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