Structure Sunday:The Structure of Back to School Preparation

I loved school. But I always hated those back to school signs in the stores. I still do. It always made summer seem shorter than it really was. And yet, now that I am a seasoned parent, I think there are real benefits to preparing for back to school. 

Just about now, it’s time to check in with your kids about any summer assignments they might have had. Don’t be that parent who declines to ask since they want their child to “ do it on their own”. Ask and get involved. Yes, it is nice when kids are self starters, but each kid is different, and you should at least know what is going on. 

It’s time to get together with your munchkin and deep clean their room. Give them some advance notice so that it is not a shock and so it does not interfere with their remaining summer plans. Let them know you might be willing to make some improvements if a good job gets done. Great examples would be a new bulletin or marker board, or perhaps a cool shelf.

Make sure that once their room is clean that everything truly has a place. Sometimes kid get blamed for having messy rooms when in fact there really is nowhere to put anything. Make sure there are enough hangers, shelves, baskets, boxes, or whatever it takes to fulfill the maxim “ A place for everything and everything in its place. “ And of course, most importantly, set a good example and keep your house clean, tidy and organized. People, especially kids, get used to whatever they’re in. You do your kids a big favor to model organization to them in this way. Being spatially organized does so much to lower stress in the house. 

Make sure to supply what they need for school. Make sure the basics are there, but also try to show you value education by going the extra mile for them with their school supplies. Make sure they have an excellent backpack to carry it all. Allow them to express their personal style. 

Make sure you know about the lunch and PE situation to come. Consider a well done home made packed lunch if school lunch quality is marginal. You can even teach your child to make her lunch eventually. Food is a great place to show kids values in action. Make sure your child has a chance to choose how they carry their lunch. 

Attend any orientations or registrations with your child, all the way through twelfth grade if you ask me. 

Finally, survey the back to school clothing situation. Assuming the room cleanup went well, ill fitting, damaged, or unwanted clothing has been given, donated, or recycled. Introduce the idea of starting your school shopping at a good thrift store such as Goodwill. Offer to take some of your child’s friends along. It is a truly fun treasure hunt. It is hip, green, and cheap.Then after that, check online for any swaps or sales, then get what you must new. 

You are the parent and you have a lot of influence. You can have this influence better by what you do, compared to what you say. Your day to day choices about how you interact with your kids convey your values. These back to school  tips will help you your convey your interest in their education, life habits, and health. They help you convey that you care about them.