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As summer reaches its final curtain call, all thoughts turn to back-to-school. Shopping, scheduling and fall sports try-outs fill the days before the buses start rolling again. Here are some helpful tips to keep you organized and focused during these transitional days.

1. Make lists and shop early
While schools normally have lists that are sent out with required materials, you should still generate a list of you own. First, see what items your child already has, then fill in the blanks. Remember to shop as early as possible! Not only will you beat the rush, you can ensure that the necessary items your child needs are taken care of without having to scramble at a later date. To make this an enjoyable experience for all, let children choose their own supplies to reflect their unique style.
 
2. Use a calendar
Back to school season heralds a major routine change. To make the transition as smooth as possible, use a family calendar and encourage children to participate by marking important days or activities, sports or club meetings. For extra organization, designate a color for each member of the family, or for specific activities (academic, recreational, etc.).
 
3. Meal prep
Having a simple and flexible plan and some prepared ingredients on hand means lunches are packed up faster and without unnecessary stress. Choose a “main dish” for each day, then prep easy side”dishes” (fruit, protein bars, yogurt) to use for the week. Don’t forget that some dinner leftovers can double the next day as lunch! Prepare one or two protein foods – hard boiled eggs, tuna salad, hummus – and slice vegetables for easy sides or to tuck into wraps and salads for crunch and nutrition. Have the kids help by assembling their own lunch from all of the prepared choices!

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