As Summer is making its way out the door, it means that the school year is just around the corner, so let’s take stock of our perceptions about what back to school could mean for your family. Do you remember in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when the students are all sitting in their High School classroom, eyes glazed over, mouths open in boredom, everyone clearly not wanting to be there? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your kids will be just like that! The start of the school year doesn’t have to be a chore or a dread. It can be a transition full of ease, flow, and even excitement. If you’re a little skeptical of this concept, let us help you see the possibility more clearly by offering our top three back to school tips for how to help smooth over this sometimes rocky annual transition.
Start the school routine early
One key component of the back to school transition is the actual change in routine. Many kids have a fairly free schedule during the summer, or a shortened, more flexible schedule, at least. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it can be a pretty jarring switch to all of a sudden have to wake up early and spend all day in a classroom. Furthermore, if your child has any additional needs, or if you’re a dual home family and your parenting plan is changing at the start of the school year, it can become an even higher stress situation for them. One way to limit this stress for the kiddos is to start their school schedule early! Begin the school year wake-up and bedtime routine a week or two before school begins, to get them back into the habit and to make it less of a big deal on the first day of school.
With a significant transition like going back to school, our mental health can be affected, and understandably so. However, we can reduce the negative impact it has on us by processing the transition ahead of time and mentally preparing for it. You can lend a hand in this, just by sparking some good conversation. Remember us encouraging “table talk” topics for your family meals? You can use that ritual as an opportunity to talk with your family about the upcoming school year. Some ideas for table talk questions: what was your favorite part about your experience at school last year? What’s one thing you’re really excited about for this school year? Questions like those will get them thinking about the upcoming school year in a positive light, and might also bring up some of their concerns, which can be good to discuss as well.
Let us help you! Make dinner time something that doesn’t stress you out this time of the year. Plan ahead to have Dream Dinners and/or other quick and easy meal options for your family in the week leading up to the beginning of school, as well as during the first week of classes. Schedule time a couple of weeks before the school year to do some meal planning and buy any groceries you’ll need, then put the meal list of what you have planned up in your house so your family can see what’s coming and when. Plan some of your family’s favorites too, to help everyone have some comfort foods to look forward to during this potentially chaotic time of year.
One common thread with all three tips? The three P’s: Prepare, Plan, and Prepare some more! Be intentional about your back to school transition. A little planning can go a long way to keeping your whole family happy, amidst the change of pace and schedule. The bottom line is, you got this!
For many of us September signifies the start to a new school year and combined with extracurricular activities your quality family time dwindles. Don’t let additional responsibilities discourage you from getting a great meal on the table – instead continue to enjoy homemade family dinners with the help of Dream Dinners.
These dinners are great in the crockpot.
- NEW! Slow Cooked Lasagna Soup with Parmesan Breadsticks
- Honey Chipotle Pork Roast With Almond Green Beans
These dinners cook in under 30 minutes plus they travel well for a quick dinner on-the-go.
- Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches on French Roll
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Stuffed French Bread
- Carne Asade Steak Tacos
During the first week of school, mornings can get a little hectic as kids (and parents) figure out the new routine. With the perfect outfit to pick out, lunches to be packed, and paperwork to be signed, it can be hard to make sure kids head off to school with a filling breakfast that will last them until lunchtime.
Here are some ideas for some quick but healthy breakfasts to start every morning off right:
– Our Breakfast Eggs with Potato Crust recipe can be made the night before and put in the oven for 30 minutes while the kids are getting ready.
– For a breakfast that is easy to eat on the go, top a container of Greek yogurt with jam, honey and chopped almonds or fresh fruit and granola.
– Make quick breakfast quesadillas by sprinkling shredded cheese on a whole wheat tortilla, layering thin apple slices, and topping with a second tortilla. Microwave or cook in a skillet until the cheese is melted.
Whether you’re moving your college student into their first apartment or sending them back for their final year, a freezer full of Dream Dinners might be the best back-to-school gift you could give them.
Studies done by Oregon State University show that most college students aren’t eating even a single serving of fruits and vegetables a day and are consuming more than 30% of their calories from fat. Dream Dinners could be the perfect solution for busy students who don’t have the time or skills to cook a healthy dinner every night.
To give them extra time to hit the books or participate in campus activities, these dinners can be cooked in just 15 minutes and easily replace your student’s pizza or ramen noodles even on the busiest night of the week. Plus a 3-serving side should even provide leftovers for lunch the next day (unless they have a hungry roommate that raids the fridge)!
Pesto Cheese Ravioli with Chicken and Walnuts is a customer favorite and leftovers can be eaten as a cold pasta salad in between classes.
Market Salmon with Corn Medley also makes an easy lunch out of leftovers. Just shred the salmon, mix with the corn and enough mayo to hold it together, and stuff into a pita pocket.
Heading back to school involves more than just buying new pencils and shoes. This August, get your whole family prepared for the demands of the new school year.
– Reading throughout the summer keeps children’s minds sharp even when they’re not in school. Make a weekly trip to the library to get your kids excited about reading. Check out this article from Parenting for the best books to read with your kids.
– Get into a school routine at least two weeks before the first day back. Follow these tips for readjusting your child’s sleep schedule before school begins. Help your kids establish a homework routine during the summer by setting aside time each afternoon for reading, working on an activity book, or any other brain-sharpening activity.
Back to School usually means busy nights start up again. Don’t let those additional responsibilities discourage you from getting a great meal on the table.
These dinners not only cook in under 30 minutes but travel well. Take them on a picnic or as dinner in the car to the next sporting event.
- BBQ Chip Chicken Tenders
- Central Park Garlic Chicken
- Carne Asada Steak Tacos
These dinners work great in the crockpot.
Breakfast is mostly a cold-cereal affair at my house, especially during the weekdays. I wish it weren’t so! But my kids are old enough to be self-sufficient, so while they’re getting ready for school, I’m prepping for work. Tossing a box of something-or-other on the kitchen table with a jug of milk is about as fancy as I get.
So when I made homemade waffles last week, the kids were stunned. And then, stuffed! For once, I felt like the “good mom” I know I can be. (Wait—Bisquick does count as homemade, right?)
So, I have a plan. Get something fast, easy and healthy — that’s not cold cereal — on the breakfast table more often. I dredged through my rusty repertoire and came up with these ideas.
Loading up lunchboxes for school can be a breeze, or it can wreak havoc on your morning routine.
Need a few tips on smoothing the process? This Modernmom.com article by Alicia Rockmore & Sarah Welch offers shopping suggestions, ways to make healthy foods fun, tips on what to pack, and more. They even give ideas on encouraging kids to make their own lunches. Three cheers to that!
School has already begun for many families, with some starting as early as mid-August. Others are just getting back, but no matter when you start, there’s always a bit of an adjustment to the new schedule. We found a great article online with useful tips anyone can use to get through the first few weeks, or anytime for that matter. Our favorite is #1!