Gearing Up for Back to School

Guest Post by Lori Pace of A Day in Motherhood

Back to School conjures up images of new clothes, school supplies and the endless hunt for the perfect backpack.  With everything that kids need these days to succeed in school, the budget can be busted quickly.  And so can mom’s (and dad’s) patience as they hunt down that perfect pair of jeans!

Since my kids are still little, I am trying to get a routine for the season and modify it only slightly for the years to come.  But there are some things that I already know work for me and I thought I would share them with you!

Start Early – One of my biggest frustrations last year was getting my kids to bed at a decent time and waking them at a reasonable time.  I did not try to modify their sleep schedule ahead of the first day and I paid for it dearly for weeks to come.  So this year, with only 3 weeks left until the first day jitters, I am already setting a sleep schedule.  And even though two of the three only go to preschool part time, I am still including them in the process!  I know that having them in bed at a decent time and up when they are supposed to be, I will eliminate a lot of busy, school morning, stress!

Get Them Used to the Daily Schedule Now – Most people who have had kids in school know, generally, what their children’s school day schedule is like.  We have a timeline in our heads of what and where our children are at any given time of day.  With that in mind, I am trying to get my kids accustomed to that schedule at home now.  I believe that part of being successful is being prepared.  So serving lunch when they would normally eat, doing craft and reading time around the same time and even letting them play outside at the time they normally do can help them be prepared for their days.  From young children to teenagers, any type of routine can make adjusting to school easier!

Get The School Year Schedules Now – Head to your school’s website and get the school year calendars now.  This can help you plan for days off, special events and other events that can break the routine and leave you floundering for child care and/ or activities through out the year.  Last year I waited to be told through the bring home folder when happenings were held and the last minute scrambling left my head spinning!

Organize your kids clothes ahead of time – My kids are at that age where they want to dress themselves.  Unfortunately, if it is in their drawer, they want to wear it.  So before I use the valuable back to school coupons that I find in the paper, at check out and get in the mail or online from my favorite retailers, I will be cleaning out the old.  Not only does this help me from overbuying as I know exactly what my kids have, but I will know that the only thing in my kids drawers are the school appriate outfits.  No mom wants to fight with her daughter on a school morning about the hot pink pants that are two sizes too small paired with the zebra print shirt that should have seen a trash can the year before!

Plan Ahead – there is nothing worse than getting to the store, hunting for that back to school supplies list on the display, finding out that the sheets are gone and then throwing everything in your cart thinking you’ll take what you don’t need back later.  Because you won’t.  And you’ll overspend.  And you will miss something.

I plan ahead by preodering the entire school supplies stack from my school’s website.  I have priced what I spend on the pack – about $50 – versus the cost of loading up three children and heading to the store and digging through deals to get the best price and it turns out about the same.  So, if you have this option, try to use it.  The supplies are placed on your child’s desk the day school starts!

If you do not have this option, head your school’s website and print out the supply list before you head to the store!  Highlight what you need and write next to it what you expect to pay.  By the time you get to the store, you’ll have a reliable list and a realistic expectation of what to spend!

Be Realistic – In all honesty, no matter how well you plan or prepare, there are going to be things that come up to add stress to the craziness of back to school.  Knowing that around any corner can be something to send you into a tailspin can help you put on the breaks and deal with it realistically.  From lost lunch pails on the first day to the melt down that your child might have when they find out their BFF is not in their class, being realistic about your expectations is important.  Flexibility, humor and deep breaths are all back to school items that should be in your backpack!

If you want to learn more about the author, you can meet her here.

203 thoughts on “Gearing Up for Back to School

  1. funny, because my sons lunch pail was lost on the first day – the teacher had given it to another student!

  2. My favorite back to school supply was a fresh, brand new box of Crayola crayons.  Nothing like ’em!

  3. When I was younger, my favorite back to school item was definitely glue: Back in the elementary school days, I was probably undiagnosed ADD, and needed to occupy my attention…so I would play with glue. Just pouring a little bit in my hand, letting it dry, and peeling it off kept my brain focused enough to learn!

  4. My favorite back to school item were the Mr. Sketch markers! I love them til this day!

  5. My favorite back to school supplies growing up were my mechanical pencils! I couldn’t live without them, and I refused to use regular pencils to write!

  6. I always loved a brand new box of crayons with all the points still nice and sharp.  An extra bonus was if it was the BIG box with the built-in sharpener!

  7. I liked the fruity smelling markers. Especially the yellow one that always seemed to smell like fruit loops… 🙂

  8. I always loved buying pencils.  I would try to get the most unique and colorful ones I could find. 

  9. A new trapper keeper was always the funnest thing I got. It was always a mission for me to get the coolest one that could be found…

  10. My favorite Back To School Supplies growing up were my Trapper Keeper and the cool folders I could find for it.  My Favorite of all time was the Darth Vader one I had in Jr. High School.

  11. I have 2 faves even to this day. I loved getting new clothes and shoes. It was such a fun tradition when I was younger with my mom. Now that I am at the University it is still a blast to go shopping for fall boots for school or maxi dresses for summer. My second fave thing to get is/was extra supplies for under priviledged or poor kids in the community. I

  12. Cheryl Walker-I remember those too. I look for those around this time of year at the back to school sales & stock up for stocking stuffers.Pencils,Pens,Paperclips,Magnets,Etc.

  13. Great to see you hear on the Smiley 360 pages!! I just love your blog and read every email I get from you!! This year I got a group together and we were able to buy some school supplies in bulk which was a big savings!!  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this years ago!  It’s kind of funny about how many people love clothes shopping because I never did and still don’t! LOL! My favorite things were always the pen and paper supplies and anything to keep them organized.

  14. My favorite back to school supplies was #1 all the clothes and shoes I got and The trapper keeper!!

  15. My favorite Back to School supply was the Crayola Markers. I had to have every color I could find.

  16. Yes – binders, notebooks (I had a neon kick for a while) and trapper keepers.  Book covers and folders.

  17. i always enjoyed buying new things. notebooks, pens, wanted everything new and clean to start the year off….i also wanted new clothes, i was a real clothes horse in jr high and high school. had to have everything matching, could only wear 1/mo. had to be specific designers….had to have every pappagallo shoe and could not wear then in the rain. 

  18. my favorite “Back-to-School” supply growing up was pencils that had printed symbols and the crazy looking earsers

  19. My favorite back to school supply growing up was a fresh new notebook! Nothing like those blank pages staring back at you to signify a new beginning 🙂

  20. I used to love the fresh new trapper keeper and the new pencils.  I loved back to school supplies.

  21. i loved pens and highlighters and getting new backpacks! it’s like having a new style every school year

  22. my favorite back to school supply was the Trapper Keeper….loved organizing it and getting ready for the first day!

  23. I was head over heels for fountain pens with refill cartridges! There was something just so graceful about them, like I was doing calligraphy every time I used them. 🙂

  24. My Fav. back to school Item was getting a new backpack and usually the styles would change every year so I would always try to find out what was the hottest new back pack trend ! I remember the one year it was the one stripe and I thought I was the coolest kid!

  25. My favorite back to school items to choose were the 3 ring binders! I always loved picking different colors and designs.

  26. My favorite BTS item was the clothes and the Crayola 64  pack of crayons with the sharpener in the back. The clothes shopping was big for me because until I hit 6th grade my mom made all our clothes and I always wanted to be like the other kids with store bought clothes. I now realize I should have appreciated her efforts. I was so proud of my first pair of Nikes though. And back then you were something if you had that 64 pack of crayons.

  27. I always loved pink erasers. Pink is my favorite color  and I always had to have the pink eraser. Now they have so many colors and different shapes!

  28. My favorite back to school item was crayons.  I loved having a new box of sharp, unbroken, bright colors.  I still buy crayons when they’re on sale for back to school LOL.

  29. My favorite back to school items were always those glitter covered pencils. You were considered cool in my school if you had them.

  30. My favorite back to school item was, and still is, a new box of 64 crayons. I just love the smell and all the colors!

  31. I love all things back to school, but now as a mom I love the sales. I always make sure to pick up extra folders, binders, paper and pencils. Its great to be able to have extras for projects at home and I am always stocked for next year

  32. We homeschool – but there is still a good bit of back-to-school preparation that needs to take place here.  I still love the back-to-school aisles in the stores – they are so tempting!

  33. I used to love back to school season.. and now I can’t wait for my little one to be older enough for school 🙂

  34. I would love to be able to order the school supplies directly from our school, that would save so much time and stress!

  35. I love reading how much everyone loves back to school!  From lunch boxes to crayons, this time of year is just fun!  Thank you all for reading!! 😉

  36. My favorite was always new crayons as a small child… The Artist in my loves the many colors of crayons to see the imagination light up every year… I would be so excited for the new school year….

  37. My favorite supply was my pencil box in elementary school but as I got to middle school ,it was my notebook.These were the only things I could design my way.

  38. I never did have a lunchbox when I was a kid, my mom used the brown paper bags! But I loved opening up a new box of crayons for the first time!

  39. I loved the Pearl eraser.  All shiny and new. Halfway during the year, I’d start outlining the “Pearl” with my pencil.  Eventually, that rectangle became two circles as I would always seem to break it in half.

  40. My very favorite new school supply was a new box of Crayola Crayons.  They were all in a nice new box, they all had sharp points and if you got the big box, there were so many colors.  The smell was wonderful also.

  41. my favorite back to school supply item was a new lunch box- the metal ones of course….like Scoobie Doo, wonder woman, flintstones!

  42. I always looked forward to picking out my pencil box and my lunch box, they weren’t always the “coolest” but I got to pick them out and that made it even better 🙂

  43. Oh I would always have my (trapper-keeper) on top of my list! I think I went through the whole school year and plus with the same one, they were pretty tough and back then they were very popular for their make and style.

  44. I would have to say folders! Who ever you liked, celebs , characters or whatever was always on them 🙂

  45. I always loved getting a new pencil box and trapper keeper. My kids can’t use trapper keepers or pencil boxes. They have to use pencil bags and binders!

  46. I loved getting new pointed Crayons. I remember hating when they got rounded and hard to color with.

  47. I’m getting my boys back into their sleep schedule this week. Today we finish shopping for supplies and it’s open house at both schools. Yesterday we stopped by the elementary to look at the class list and my youngest is excited about who will be in his class! Can’t believe school starts on Monday. Where did summer vacation go?

  48. Great tips!  This is my first year having a child in all day school.  My daughter just started Kindergarten this week and I already miss her.  I’m having to adjust to lots of boy-themed play with my 2-year-old son, but we are having lots of fun.

  49. I’m doing back to school for the first time in years! I had to roll my Little Guy’s bed time back to 7:30 and we are laying out clothes the night before.  Morning are a beast around here but to be honest I love it!  I am getting second chance to relive the past and it is a HUGE blessing!  Thanks for all the tips n tricks!LeslieLeslie Loves Veggies

  50. We start in waves this year since kids are going to different schools.  I usually organize the two bottom levels of pantry for packable snacks for the kids,  we get in the habit of them packing lunches b/f bed the night before.  Bitter sweet time of year for me for sure.

  51. My favorite school supplies when I was younger was almost always the colored pencils (I have always loved the color combinations and shading effects) and a wide array of pens in different types and different colored inks as well. I still admit I have a pretty intense pen fetish to this day. 🙂

  52. My favorite back to school supplies were any form of pencils &
    sharpener. There is something about sharpening the pencils the night
    before the 1st day of school. The happiness on my face would be so
    apparent and this task made me forget the days ahead of getting up
    early and getting ready for school.

  53. I loved getting that Box of Crayons and new tablets. I liked the way the crayons were sharp and new but hated to use them. I’d always sharpen them with a pencil sharpener, LOL.

  54. I loved nice new sharp pencils and especially pencils that had colorful pencil erasers that you can put on top so you could erase alot more!  If I happened to get a round pencil, that would be even better!  If I got a pencil that had some type of design on it, well, I just felt downright popular then!  

  55. I loved getting all the school supplies, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, notebooks, binders, etc. To this day I am like a kid in a candy store at the office supply place, I love organizing, making binders with tabs and color coding. Its a bit geeky, but what can I say I love that stuff.

  56. I remember the denim type of notebook binders and we would get the stickers to put on them to help us through the year.  We also would draw and write on them too.  For a short while they had the color filler papers, which I indulged in just to get organized and perk up my taking classes. 

  57. To this day I still have an ‘office supply’ addiction. The funny thing
    about it is finding out how many of my friends do too. I attribute this
    to the fun of back to school shopping as a kid, and the bags and bags of
    new stuff you would get all at once. For myself, I think my favorite
    school supply was always my ‘main folder’ or binder, aka as a Trapper
    Keeper. You still see these but they are more of a fun luxury now, with
    supplies so heavily policed by teachers and administrators. We didn’t
    have this type of policing when I was a kid. We just basically got what
    we knew we would need: pens, pencils, erasers, paper, scissors, glue and
    either markers, colored pencils or crayons (depending on your grade),
    and supply boxes. The Trapper Keeper was like ‘central command’, and the
    one thing, besides your clothes, that allowed you to ‘wear your
    personality on your sleeve’, so to speak. These days, that is
    discouraged in favor of uniform supplies and clothes. The favorite
    supply/addiction that has stayed with me all these years is my love of
    Sharpies. I like to have every color, size and tip style that I can
    find.

  58. Great advice! I stock up on extras of everything like crayons and glue while prices are so low in August!

  59. I loved those markers that had different smells (Like Watermelon, grape, etc.) There is nothing better than newly sharpened pencils and those black and white composition books. Remind me of elementary school!

  60. It’s amazing how much of a difference just laying out things the night before makes–I need to start getting into that habit again!!

  61. omg  i loved picking out folders! all the designs to choose from and binders i loved also. lisa frank was my favorite designer for them! do yall know who she is? shes got bright beautiful fun girly exciting designs cute too. i still love her stuff but dont see much of it anymore. she makes all sorts stuff. posters cards stickers school supplies ect

  62. omg  i loved picking out folders! all the designs to choose from andbinders i loved also. lisa frank was my favorite designer for them! doyall know who she is? shes got bright beautiful fun girly excitingdesigns cute too. i still love her stuff but dont see much of itanymore. she makes all sorts stuff. posters cards stickers schoolsupplies ect

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