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In a matter of weeks, the chaos will ensue: scheduled breakfasts, packed lunches, homework, new teacher, tutoring, extracurricular activities—the list goes on and on. How can families avoid the chaos and better plan the first few weeks of back-to-school? How can parents make this time of year more manageable? Here are a few tips to kick off back-to-school with a stress-free plan of action!
Tip 1: Doing things early never seems to be an option – so do it later!
Every year we tell ourselves we’ll get to the malls early and check off that necessary back-to-school shopping. Inevitably, we find ourselves in the thick of lines at shopping malls and checkout counters over the very last weekend before back-to-school. A quick solution? Do the shopping a few weeks afterback-to-school to avoid lines and traffic. Believe me, your kids will make it through the first couple of weeks just fine with the clothes and supplies they already have—don’t panic! Alternatively, step out of your comfort zone and order school supplies and clothing online. While you are on vacation, place orders for everything your family needs; that way, when you get home, everything is waiting for you. Ordering online can also be a fun family event: sit around the dinner table, make a list of what everyone needs, and do some online shopping as a family. A quick tip: if you decide to do family online shopping, set a spending limit for everyone in advance. Not only will you save money, but the kids will also learn to stay within a budget!
Tip 2: Electronic disconnect over dinner!
In both the week leading up to and the week of back-to-school, make a “no electronic devices during dinner” rule. This is a great way to open lines of communication and enjoy the company of your family. All of us—parents, guardians, kids, etc.—are constantly bombarded and distracted by our phones and electronic gadgets for nearly every waking minute of the day. Put the devices away for a peaceful, quiet, and stress-free family dinner. You’ll be surprised at how enjoyable it is to reminisce about summer and revel in back-to-school anticipation for just 30 to 60 minutes each night with your family. Electronic disconnect is not easy, so pose it as a family challenge and maybe add a dessert treat as an incentive for everyone to get involved!
Tip 3: Register for extracurricular activities now!
Extracurricular activities are something you can sign up for in advance, either online or via phone. A great idea is to book them early, so you have your family calendar completely planned out before school starts. Whether you’re booking a tutor in Vaughan, signing up for sports, or whatever, plan out which days each activity will be taking place and put them on the schedule well before school starts; this will keep things on track from day one of the new school year. Once all activities are booked, hang a calendar where everyone can see what activities are occurring on which days; this simple tool will keep the family organized and on schedule.
Tip 4: Relax!
Why does “vacation time” need to end with back-to-school? This year, book a weekend away or schedule a family activity in the GTA in September or October, so your family can relax in the final weekends before winter has us in its grip. A planned family outing will give parents and guardians time to communicate with the kids regarding the first few weeks of school—their friends, teachers, etc.—in a more relaxed, stress-free environment.
See if your family can adopt one or two of these tips that make the back-to-school process more efficient and stress-free!
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