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Supplies & Tips for a Successful Start to the School Year

Now is the time to start preparing your child for the upcoming school year. Simplify the process with our tips & tricks.

Kids desk with Breakfast Cookie Minis

Even though it might be hard to believe that school is just around the corner, don’t let denial delay your preparation for the upcoming school year. It’s time to wrangle in the carefree and unstructured whimsy of summertime to equip your children with the timetable and supplies necessary for academic success. If you gradually start adjusting the flow of your child’s day, then the change will seem less drastic and most likely make it easier for them to adjust. There is an abundance of apps and insider tips to make this transition as smooth as possible.


Routine


The most important aspect of getting your children back into the school routine is to give them the tools to be self-sufficient. Even if your little one is just starting school, create easy tasks they can accomplish with little supervision. This autonomy will somewhat lighten the load off of your shoulders, but more notably these chores will boost their self-confidence and teach them positive habits that can last a lifetime.

kids doing homework
Photo Credit - Amys OT for Kids

Organizational App

It can be difficult to remember everyone’s schedule, due dates for assignments, and various appointments. Look no further than the Cozi Family Organizer app to drastically reduce the amount of stress from trying to balance the lives of each family member. This free app allows you to create a family calendar, to do lists, shopping lists, and family journal. Cozi also has the capability of sharing calendars between devices, receiving reminders, and the ability to sign into your account from any device. If you want help with planning meals, the Recipe Box and Dinner Planner add-on is perfect for saving recipes, adding ingredients to your grocery list, and creating a weekly meal plan.

Create a Command Center

Another great way to improve family organization is by creating a command center (aka launch pad) near the entryway in your home. This space will serve as a designated space for backpacks, papers, keys, calendar, and any other items you want to grab quickly while heading out the door. After choosing the best place in your home for the family command center, evaluate your needs to help determine what type of furniture and hardware you will need for this project. I suggest creating a section for each child to hang their backpack and store school papers. Once your command center is set up, you will need to train each family member on how to use this new feature of your home. Make it a habit to always put items in their specific spot within the command center for optimum organization. The best part about creating a family command center is the ability to have everything you need in one spot to run out the door in the morning if necessary.

Chore Chart

A family command center will definitely help ease the chaos of your mornings, but establishing a precise morning routine is crucial to starting the day off without stress. Your best bet to an easygoing first part of the day is going to be involving all family members in the process. Each person should be given simple, well-defined, easy steps to follow with clear expectations; furthermore, provide praise when tasks are done correctly to boost self-esteem and encourage the development of positive habits. Utilizing a chore chart guars that everyone contributes to help keep things running smoothly. Create a separate chart for each individual by listing each chore, day of the week, and the reward for completing each task. Depending on what motivates your child, consider using extra screen time or food items instead of money for compensation.

chore chart

Meal Planning

Speaking of tools that assist in smooth sailing, I highly recommend planning your meals for the week in advance. As mentioned above, the Cozi Family Organizer app is an excellent way to archive various aspects of family life especially when it comes to food. Simply find a recipe, add ingredients to your grocery list, and create the week’s meal plan. If you’re looking for the most cost-efficient way to feed your clan, then I suggest signing up for the $5 Meal Plan. This meal planning service was created by a mother of five boys, so you know this information is based off experience with many hungry children. This service emails you a meal plan and complete shopping list (coded by meal #) every week. Each recipe costs around $5 to prepare and there’s a gluten-free plan option. After a free 14 day trail, the $5 Meal Plan costs only $5 per month. If you’d rather have freedom while choosing what types of meals to eat, then check out Yummly for over 2 million recipes. After selecting a recipe, you can schedule the exact time you would like to eat and it will be added to your calendar. Yummly will also create a smart shopping list that even lists the aisle numbers for each ingredient. If you don’t want to go grocery shopping, then use the app to schedule a delivery from Instacart. There are several meal delivery services which are great for drastically reducing the time it takes to shop for and prepare a meal, but you’ll most likely have to pay more for the convenience.

kids lunch box
Photo Credit - Amys OT for Kids

Ease into New Routine

The biggest adjustment to school time is adjusting a child’s sleep schedule. Days of staying out past nightfall are behind them because now is the time to be proactive in preparing young minds to be ready for early mornings. I would highly suggest gradually reeling in bedtime two weeks before school starts by having lights out 10 minutes earlier each day. Adjust both bedtime and wake up time to help ease this transition. Numerous studies have shown that sleep loss for kids can negatively impact their performance in school and physical/mental health. By slowly changing their sleep schedule, your little ones will hopefully feel less shock and fatigue over early mornings.


Supplies


When shopping for school supplies, amplify your impact by choosing businesses that donate to those in need. In order to guarantee that nothing gets left out it’s best to have a list of everything that your kids will need for the upcoming school year. Reduce the amount of waste by reusing supplies when possible and try to choose companies that value sustainability. Let each child choose their own folders and notebooks to encourage them to express their individuality.

kids notebooks for school
Photo Credit - Amys OT for Kids

Erin Baker’s Breakfast Cookie Minis

We of course had to start this list with Breakfast Cookie Minis – however, they’re not just for breakfast, throw them in your bag for whenever hunger strikes! You won't find artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives in any of the food we bake, ever. Kids love these nutritious cookies while parents enjoy our food philosophy and knowing every purchase helps feed kids in need. Our goal is to feed 1 million kids at The Boys & Girls Clubs with Breakfast Cookie Minis, and we’ll keep on going after that! Plus you can save yourself a trip to the store by ordering direct online! Learn more about our Help Feed 1 Million Kids Program at www.hf1mk.com

Breakfast Cookie Mini in a lunch box

Yoobi

If you’re looking for ways that your student can express themselves, then I strongly recommend purchasing school supplies from Yoobi. From pens to notebooks, Yoobi creates whimsical designs that are almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Basing their business off an excellent business model, Yoobi’s philosophy “one for you, one for me” donates a school supply item to a classroom in need within the United States. Their products can be found on their website Yoobi.com, at Target, or purchase online on Amazon. With over 62 million school supplies donated, Yoobi is a marvelous place to start your back to school shopping. Check out more info on Yoobi in this video.

Yoobi

Sydney Paige

These playful backpacks were created to serve multiple purposes. Sydney Paige honed in on the essential components to construct a backpack that is both adorable and functional. The stunning quality of Sydney Paige backpacks are complemented by the company’s dedication to “buy one, give one”. When you buy a backpack, Sydney Paige will donate a backpack to a child in need filled with school supply essentials catered to a specific age. The founder left her corporate career to start this business, so you can be sure that helping children in need is a mission she has dedicated her life to.

Sydney Paigesydney paige backpack

MABLE

A great way to learn about sustainability is by gradually switching over to products that emphasize environmental protection. MABLE toothbrushes are made from sustainably harvested bamboo which is naturally antibacterial and water-resistant. The toothbrush is ergonomic, but my favorite feature is its ability to be self-standing. MABLE’s awareness of their impact on the environment doesn’t stop there. The nylon bristles can be recycled and their packaging is plastic-free. Even the handle is compostable! For every toothbrush purchased, MABLE will give one to a child in need; additionally, the company tours schools to teach kids about sustainable choices, personal health, and how products like MABLE ensure we don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

MABLE Toothbrush

Stasher

Another splendid way to support sustainability is by ditching the disposable plastic baggies and replacing them with reusable Stasher bags. Stasher is made of pure platinum silicone that is made from natural resources — primarily sand. It’s 100% plastic and BPA free with no fillers. Stasher takes pride in their accountability as a Certified B Corporation which means they “meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”₁ Stasher also contributes to the 1% For the Planet which denotes the company gives 1% of their sales back to the environment. On top of all the great acts of charity mentioned above, you can send damaged Stasher bags back to the company where it will be repurposed as playground pebbles. There are so many great reasons to ditch the disposable plastic bags!

Stasher reusable bags

Your best bet to easing the back to school transition is going to be making small changes over a period of time. It’s best to let your young ones gradually fall into a new routine rather than shocking their system on the first day of school. When you feel prepared for the upcoming school year, you will be able to focus on making the most out of the remaining summer days. Consider sustainability when shopping for school supplies while choosing companies that give back to the community. We’re all in this together, so let’s make smart choices that can benefit us all!

Alex's Signature
Alex Stoffel
Retail Customer Service | Erin Baker's

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References:

  1. BCorporation.net - About B Corps