Are you one of those Canadians who finds themselves too tired to enjoy the last long weekend of summer after the exhausting trek through the stores and malls preparing for back-to-school? Or, worse, do you forgo the cottage to spend the last bit of summer holidays fighting through the mad crush for school supplies? Do you dread being confronted with children who are ill prepared to face the abrupt change in routine? Here are some tips to make back-to-school a breeze for everyone!
Relax, don’t do it
Are you always a face in that panicked crowd jostling and lining-up to buy autumn-inspired back-to-school outfits? I was, until one year it finally dawned on me that the air doesn’t get dramatically cooler on the first day of school. Lo and behold, my kids were heading off in their summer shorts, with the new fall clothes not garnering so much as a glance!
Shop early for necessities such as lunch kits, school supplies, and knapsacks, which hit the store shelves in mid-summer, and leave the new clothes (other than perhaps a light jacket and pants for cool days) until after the rush. Another reason waiting is wise — kids often don’t get a feel for the season’s styles until school is back in. Holding off means they will know exactly what they want when you do shop, which makes for less stress, and less wasted money on clothing that gets pushed to the back of the closet!
Online shopping allows you to avoid the in-store crush altogether, saves money on gas, and opens up a world of variety. With more shipping options than ever open to Canadians now, you can complete your back-to-school shopping with not a hair out of place!
It’s a great idea to get your child together with a few of his or her schoolmates toward the end of summer holidays. This allows them to get caught up and comfortable, and best of all, will have them anticipating the first day back! If you’ve just moved into a new school district, try to find a few children in the neighbourhood who will be attending the same school or riding on the same bus and invite them over the week before school starts!
Do night prep
Pack knapsacks and lunches the night before school starts to avoid first morning stress and pandemonium – come sun-up the only thing scrambling should be eggs!
Buses and babysitters
Make a call to the bus company or school to double-check on bus drop-off and pick-up times. Confirm with babysitters so there are no unexpected issues. Be sure the kids know their bus stop(s), route, caregiver (if they have one), and generally take them through a play-by-play of their day to ease any anxiety before the first day of school.
Drop on by
Schools in Canada are generally open the week before school starts. If you have young children, it’s a good idea to drop by and re-familiarize them with the school and let them have a play in the yard. If your child is starting school for the first time definitely consider popping in on the teacher and touring the school and classroom to ease first-day jitters!
Get back in the saddle
Cranky, out-of-whack children will not have an easy first day of school. It’s a good idea to use the week before back-to-school to get them settled into something resembling a routine as far as bedtimes and mealtimes go. Doing so will go a long way in making the readjustment easier for them – and for you!
Check the weather report and have outfits and accessories prepared accordingly. Canadian weather is certainly changeable, and there’s nothing worse than a frantic last-minute panic to locate umbrellas, rain boots, hats, jackets, or sunscreen!