Before the First Day of School: Seven Ways to Get Ready

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start the first day of school countdown! It can be a mix of emotions from everyone in the family. It’s guaranteed to be on mom’s calendar with a big circle on the date – with “X’s” encroaching that day! But for the kids, it can be a cruel end to the endless summer that is now close to ending.

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Best Summer Ever!

It’s not always saying “goodbye” to summer and “hello” to the first day of school. I think that this year was our best summer yet for my family. Our youngest son was old enough to actually enjoy the beach, ocean, and the pool. We had a great mix of fun camps, exciting travels up north, and fantastic times playing tourist along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. I’m sad to see it come to an end, but also very happy to get us all back into our school routines.

Before the first day of school, there are a bunch of important things you need to do in order for the transition to be a success. I’d bet you that you’re either a procrastinator parent like myself or the super-organized parent who has already taken care of all the details of back-to-school when school supplies started popping up in stores in July. Regardless of what type of parent you are, you definitely need to get your ducks in a row before that first-day hits. Here are some tips to get you started!

PC: Briana Macon @littlewhale3

1. Take a Clothing Inventory

So let’s start with the obvious – the first day of school outfit. Did your child grow like a beanstalk over the summer and nothing fits now? It’s definitely time to go and reorganize their dresser to make sure they have enough sizes of school clothes. Perhaps run down to the mall to snag a new pair of sneakers or shoes.

If you have a few children (all boys for me), you’re able to pass down clothes from child to child, so it’s just taking the time to go through each size of clothing to make sure who fits into what. This is also a great time to donate clothes that you don’t need to the Samaritan House in Virginia Beach.

2. Go Back-to-School Shopping

School supply lists will hit the mailbox immediately after the teachers are announced. Some schools will make your life easier – and just have you sign up and pay for bulk supplies (thank you to my kids’ preschool for doing this year!). Local businesses around town are also putting together backpacks for children in need, this is a great time to buy an extra binder and drop it off at the locations around town.

When thinking about packing lunches, this is a great time to move away from plastics and invest in eco-friendly reusable bento box containers like Eco Lunch Boxes orLunch Bots, stainless steel, easy to open and clean. Be sure to test it out to make sure your child can open and close them. Definitely invest in water bottles that don’t leak – there is nothing worse than a soaking wet backpack and lunch box.

3. Get a Haircut

Who doesn’t love the feeling you get after having a new haircut? Head to your favorite barbershop or hairdresser to have your children’s hair trimmed around their ears and out of their faces. They’ll be ready for school in no time after a fresh new do! If your child would love to sit in an airplane chair and watch cartoons during the experience, Pigtails & Crewcuts at Hilltop is a great option!

PC: Briana Macon @littlewhale3

4. Take the First Day of School Photos and Outfits

Local photographers, like Briana Macon of Macon Photography, often offer a “Back to School” Mini Session. This is a great time to test out the perfect first day of school outfit and get your kiddos excited for the year to begin. Mom can always jump in for a shot or two because let’s face it, this time of year is just as exciting for mom as it is for the kids!

PC: Briana Macon @littlewhale3

5. Complete Health Forms before the First Day of School

Did you drop off your child’s health forms at their pediatrician yet? If not – do so immediately! Most doctor’s offices tell you there is a week turnaround time, so the sooner you get it in, the better. I like to bring the office ladies cookies or brownies as a little thank you. It doesn’t hurt to get on the good side of the folks who will be answering your phone calls in the wintertime during cold and flu season!

6. Start the Back-to-School Routine

How are we going to transition into a completely different routine than this relaxing summertime heaven we’ve been soaking in for the past few months? If it could be as painless as possible, that would be even nicer! But the thought of pushing bedtime back to an agreeable 8:00 p.m., because that wake-up call for elementary ages kids is 6:30 a.m. at our house – and adding in homework, after-school activities, and the rush to do everything that needs to be done, is just as overwhelming to think about it let alone do it!

The best advice I ever received when I was overwhelmed with a transition to two brand new schools, was to start a routine chart for each child – before school starts. Move your kids (and yourself) slowly into healthy habits by having them check off what they’ve accomplished throughout the day.

Some sample ideas:

  • getting dressed in the morning
  • eating healthy meals
  • being active
  • doing homework

Make it a big deal when they get through 3 days completing everything on their chart, even better when it’s an entire week. Instead of bribing them with money or a trip to Target, offer a special alone date with mom or dad. You can pop over to the VB Basics Etsy Shop to find an already designed and hand-illustrated “Daily Routine Chart“, eco-friendly & reusable every week! Enter coupon code “FAMILYAPP” to receive free shipping!

A washable marker will just wipe away each week to start anew. This will also help with getting to bed on time, making that transition to early wake-up calls a bit easier. And let’s be honest, maybe mom could use one herself…

FamilyApp is a great location to start adding events to the family calendar. Start fresh and get after-school activities, events, parties, birthdays, and whatever else is important – into that family calendar.

PC: Briana Macon @littlewhale3

7. Finish the Summer Bucket List

Most Hampton Roads private schools start up a few weeks before the Virginia Beach Public Schools do. This gives public school parents a bit more time with their kids, and it gives the kids more time to check off the items on their summer bucket list. Slip in one more trip to Busch Gardens and to Oceanbreeze Water Park. Hit the beach to soak in the last of the summertime rays of sun. My boys just realized how much fun it is to paddleboard on their foam surfboard – more time for that! Ride The Tide into Norfolk, or go down to the Military Aviation Museum where the dinosaurs stand at the entrance.

Soak in as much family time as you can! The days may be long, but the years go by fast.

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