5 must-see tips to get your family ready for back to school

Beau Coffron

Beau Coffron is a father of three and a lunchbox creativity expert from the Oklahoma City area. On lunchboxdad.com, he shares content that helps make parents’ busy lives easier and kids’ lunches exciting

If you are like my family, back to school normally involves scrambling around attempting to piece together a first-day-of-school outfit, trying to make sense of emails from the school district, and going shopping for school lunches — all in the span of about eight hours. However, this year the stars aligned and we were able to get ourselves pretty organized. We found five key tips that have helped tremendously, so I thought I would pass them on to you. Parents have to stick together and if we find something that works let's share it with everyone else, right? Here's to surviving summer and sending your kids back to their teachers learn new life skills!

1. Get in the habit of prepping food for school lunches at the beginning of the week.

If you love rushing around to miraculously pull together a healthy and tasty lunch when you're exhausted at night, go ahead and skip this tip. If you would rather not spend your nighttime hours during the school week prepping food like a sous chef on those television shows, then you will appreciate this. Many of the healthy fruits and vegetables that your kids love can be washed and cut up on Sunday. Items like melon, pineapple, grapes, carrots, and broccoli can all be put in a large resealable plastic container and will last all week. Each night, just grab a little of the already prepped food and put it in a single- serving container for the next day!

2. Create a surplus school supply bin for your family.

When you hit those amazing Staples back-to-school sales, make sure to buy extra pencils, glue, poster boards, and more. When your kids need more supplies throughout the school year, you won't have to rush out to buy them the night before their project is due. You can just open a plastic bin full of supplies that is stored in your office or garage. You then become the brilliant parent who thought ahead, bought extra when the best sales were happening, and can now binge on your favorite show while your kid stresses out because they waited until the last possible minute to do their homework.

3. Organize your school activities in a planner or on a calendar and meet as a family to discuss them before school starts.

We all know that trying to arrange your family's extracurricular schedule can be more complicated than trying to recall how to do the geometry that your high schooler now needs help with. Honestly, your scheduling wizardry should get you a PhD in educational organization skills. The one thing that could help with this is to pick up a new calendar or planner. Write down every school and extracurricular activity that your kids are involved with and display it prominently. Meet as a family at the beginning of school, as well as every couple months after that, so that everyone is on the same page, understands the schedule, and knows what's expected of them. This can also help your life not to become overloaded with too many activities. It sounds difficult, but I would bet that geometry is actually much harder.

4. Start sending your kids to bed at the normal school year time a week before school actually starts.

Summer is a perfect time for your kids to stay up late, devour s'mores, and for you to wonder how you became convinced that your kids going without sleep and indulging in too much sugar was a brilliant plan. When summer is over, nothing can get kids into the school year schedule, and bring sanity back to parents, like children finally getting to sleep at a normal hour. Start doing this a week early and it will make the sleep transition so much easier. Besides that, it will give you a week more of not having to share the ice cream that you break out after the kids go to bed.

5. Get first-day-of-school signs ready early and let your kids decorate them.

You know all of those pictures posted on social media from the parents who got their act together and took photos of their kids on the first day of school? You know how you always say that you took some of your kids, but forgot to post them until the second week, when in actuality you really took them the second week and posted them immediately after you shot the photos? This year, get a jump-start and let the kids decorate their own signs. Pick up some supplies at Staples and then let your children go to work. You can always clean up their mistakes after they go to bed just like you do at Christmastime when they decorate the tree. Don't even pretend like you don't move some of those ornaments! These signs will do more than give you social media cred, they will help you build stockpiles of photos to share when your kids get older and bring their dates home.

So with a few tips, and a quick trip to Staples, back-to-school doesn't have to be stressful. It can be a time to celebrate what your kids have done and where they are going. It can be a time to get the whole family back into a routine. It can also be a time to set the groundwork for an amazing year. So whether you are getting ready for the new season to start, or your children have already started back to school, these tips can help you have a fantastic year!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Staples. All opinions are my own.