10 Back to School Essentials

Psst....I know I am a day early BUT I normally post on Wednesdays so I just kept it the same and I am linking up with Shay today for their back to school linkup.  Link up anytime!, I can't wait.  xoxo ERIN  

We are in the final countdown around here!  I am not going to lie that that music is now running through my head...It's time to head back to school.

If you are like me you feel the need to do all things, prepare, plan and still squeeze every last ounce of summer fun out that you can!  Today I am so excited for the 10 on the 10th linkup so that we can all learn from one another what our 10 back to school essentials are.  Make sure you link up and then visit a few other new friends and leave them a note to say hello.

Here are 10 tips and essentials that will not only prepare you for the first day but get you excited too.  Enthusiasm is contagious so the more excited we are, the more our kids will be.  We want our kids excited for learning, growing and school in general! 

Solon Backpack | Vera Backpack

1.  Backpacks

Every kid needs a backpack.  When I went to school I had the most darling Esprit tote, anyone else have one?  We invested in a Pottery Barn Kids backpack for our daughter  and a Herschel backpack for our son when they went to preschool.  Both are still working great.   I just spot treat the backpacks with oxi-clean and then wash on a gentle cycle in the washing machine and hang dry.  They look brand new for another year of use.   A fun way to give new life to a backpack is adding new accessories like hand sanitizer or a key chain.  It's a fun way to make it new without spending as much.

2.  Clothes

Before we head back to school, I take a rainy or lazy afternoon to go through their closets and drawers to assess what still fits, what needs to be donated and what they need for the upcoming season.  I don't always buy those items right away but keep the list on my phone so when I see a good deal or something they might like I can remember exactly what they need.  

Solon Shoes | Vera Shoes

3.  Shoes

Most schools require kids to wear tennis shoes for gym class.  Before I go out and buy new shoes, I always go through my kids shoe bin to assess what they really need.  Both kids needed new tennis shoes.  My son wears tennis shoes every single day and Vera has these, these and these that she will wear.

4.  Lunches

My kids generally take hot lunch about once a week or 4-5 times a month.  They each circle in a colored marker (blue for Solon and pink for Vera) which days they want hot lunch.  Then the rest of the month they take a cold lunch.  If we are really organized, we prepare sandwiches and baggies of fruit and veggies over the weekend so that we can grab and go the night before to make lunches.  

Generally in my kids lunch boxes, they take a side (goldfish, pretzels, crackers), a fruit (grapes, strawberries, fruit leather, applesauce, apple slices), a veggie (carrots, celery), a sandwich or protein (cheese/meat, peanut butter), and a dessert (granola bar, trail mix or a cookie).   I sometimes send them with a thermos with macaroni and cheese, pizza rolls or leftovers that can be reheated.  Then, I just pack them a water bottle as well.

5.  Ease the Jitters

If you are like me, maybe you have the jitters or maybe your kids do too.  Here are two great blog posts to help you.   Jitters are natural but they don't have to steal the excitement of the moment!

Overcoming those Back to School Jitters 

Guide for Parents Going Back to School for the First Time

6.  Traditions

We love to take first day of school photos, wear a special first day of school outfit and walk to school as a family.  Then I always ask my kids if there is a special afternoon snack they want and what they would like for their dinner that evening.  Chances are it will include chocolate chip cookies and walking tacos but I haven't officially asked yet.  What traditions do you incorporate? 

7.  Bedtime / Morning Routine

Re-establishing a normal bedtime routine at least a week before school starts has helped around our house.  Those first few weeks are exhausting so having a bedtime routine pre-established is super helpful. 

 It might be helpful to lay out clothes the night before so they know what they are wearing the next morning and prepare lunches the night before so they simply have to pop them in their backpacks.  

8.  Create a Homework Drawer

Create a dedicated space for sharpened pencils, erasers and some essential school supplies that your kids and you can easily access during homework time.  Invest in an electric pencil sharpener for those back to school pencil sharpening needs as well as those daily homework sessions.  You will thank me!

9.  Communicate and Plan

As you go back to school, you also go back to kid and family weekly activities. It's important to sit down with your spouse and kids and talk through what the week is going to look like and who is responsible to get who where.  It might also help to have a meal plan and groceries ready so that you don't have to think about what to make those first few nights back.  You might pick fan favorites so you know everyone will eat well. 

We found it helpful to have a family calendar and command center inside our pantry for important school papers and other things so that we can all easily what is going on.  

10. Pray as a family for the School Year

It might just be during your evening prayer time as a family or a special time before they head off in the morning. We hope to do this as a family this year as we pray about school, relationships, protection, learning, growing and being a light for Jesus.  Sending your kids off with a prayer and a blessing will be so fruitful for your heart and theirs.

Remember of all, grace.  The first year my son went to school, I pictured him coming home from school, us enjoying a snack and a lovely conversation about his day.  That didn't happen.  He was tired and was ready for a little time to decompress alone.  It worked best for him to have some iPad time and a snack for about 30 minutes and then he was ready to talk and play outside.  You know your child and your family best, give yourself grace as you transition.

Check out more fun on my Back to School board on Pinterest.

What are you doing to get excited and ready for the school year ahead?  

What's still on your to do list?  

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life.  Wishing you a great back to school season! #tribekoko

Hop on over to Facebook to watch my Back to School Bootcamp Video & Follow me on Instagram tonight for our monthly #Kokomotherhood chat all about going back to school.

If you blogged, make sure to link up.  Make sure to follow your host on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and visit at least 2 other blogs linking up.  Thank you!

An InLinkz Link-up

Linking up with Erika and Shay for Workin' It Wednesday and Hall Around Texas for Back To School Link-Up

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