How to Prepare for Back to School

Girl sitting at KidKraft table with reading nook in the background

It might seem impossibly soon or way overdue – either way, the first day of school is just around the corner. If that leaves you feeling a little unprepared, no worries. Our back to school tips are here to make sure the first day is all good vibes and minimal stress for kids and parents alike!

Bring Back Bedtime

Later-than-usual bedtimes are a summer rite of passage, but you’ll want to start gradually winding it back before the start of school. Most school-age kids need about 10 -12 hours of sleep per night, so start pushing bedtime up by 15 minutes every 2-3 nights until they’re back where they need to be.

Read A Ton

Reading is a great way – maybe the way – to help your kids beat the summer slide and be ready to pick up where they left off learning-wise when school starts back up. And the material doesn’t have to be educational per se – just something that your child enjoys reading with you or on their own if they’re already reading. So if you haven’t had a book-filled summer so far, make a trip to your local library and spend these last few weeks reading at least 20 minutes per day. If they’re a little resistant, you can make it more fun by setting up their own cozy reading corner and savings a few special snacks for reading time only!

If you have time, try working in a few of the activities from our 8 Way to Keep Kids Learning Over Summer Break too!

Practice (or Read About) the School Day

Little ones who have never been to school may have no idea what to expect. You can help them shake those jitters by practicing some activities they’ll do on a typical school day. Circle time to read stories and practice songs, craft time, and playground time, are all standard for most preschools. There are also plenty of picture books about going to preschool or kindergarten that will make the first day seem more fun and less scary! Rosie Goes to Preschool, The Queen of Kindergarten, and Preschool, Here I Come! are popular picks you can probably find at your local library.

Avoid the School Supply Shopping Rush

When we were kids, there was usually only one option to check off that school supply list: brave the ridiculously crowded stores and scramble for the goods. Thankfully, you can avoid that mess if you order them online. Pro tip: school supplies actually tend to be a little more expensive on Amazon than in stores – who knew! Do your shopping online from a nearby store and place the order for pickup – you’ll get the ease of online shopping and the best prices.

Create a Kid Study Space

Even if your kiddo’s “homework” is basically just a coloring sheet, they’ll still benefit from having a dedicated homework space. Working on the couch, in bed, or at the kitchen table makes it a bit harder to focus since those spaces are usually where they relax and eat. A kids’ desk can be a great investment, especially as your kid’s homework gets more complex and they need to focus for longer periods of time. If you don’t have the space, the dining table or any child-sized table can still work just fine! Clearing them off beforehand and adding something like a pencil cup or small study lamp can help differentiate between meal or craft times and study time. Overall, you’ll want whatever space you use to be ergonomically correct for kids (which may mean a booster seat at the dining room table), organized, and clutter-free.

Practice a Morning Routine

There’s no denying that getting the kids out the door on time can be tough. To make the first day of school a little less stressful (and therefore a more positive experience for the littles!), try to get your morning routine down pat a week or so before school starts. That means waking up at the right time, getting dressed, eating breakfast, – the whole nine yards. If it feels a little hectic at first, at least you know you have a few more days to work out the kinks and make it run smoother before the big day!

See the School

Most schools offer orientations, open houses, or meet-the-teacher nights before the start of school. If at all possible, make it a priority to be there! Seeing their new classroom and meeting the teacher (and maybe even a few friends) beforehand can make the first day way less intimidating for your little learners.

Get that First Day Swag

Despite the huge marketing push for back-to-school clothes, you really don’t have to shell out money for a whole new wardrobe if your kids still have plenty of clothes that fit. But, wearing something they love can help kids feel confident and shake those first-day jitters. That might mean a cool new outfit, their old favorite t-shirt, or their lucky light-up shoes. Whatever it is, try to give them a say in their first-day outfit so they can feel just as excited about it as you are…because we know you’ll be snapping first-day pics like crazy!