And just like that, the first day of school is upon us.
We’re sure you’re busy fitting in all the pool days, beach trips, and backyard barbeques you can before summer is officially over. However, it’s important to begin considering how to prepare for the upcoming academic year. Whether you’re new to the game, sending your first kid off to kindergarten, or are a seasoned vet who has readjusting sleep schedules down to a science, there are always extra tricks to help drum up school spirit.
Here are 7 of our favorite ways to get ready for back to school time:
1. Participate in NVFS’ Back2School Drive
Northern Virginia Family Services’ Back2School Drive provides students across Northern Virginia with all of the necessities for a successful start to the school year. They give kids and teens backpacks filled with the school supplies required by their grade and/or county.
As you’re hunting down the best deals for your own child’s list, consider picking up an extra backpack or set of notebooks. NVFS is particularly in need of larger-sized backpacks for middle and high school-aged students, while elementary-age backpacks should be large enough to accommodate special supplies like pencil boxes and binders. For all supplies and grade levels, gender-neutral colors are preferred.
2. Multi-Ethne Church Back To School Community Drive
You can’t spell philanthropy without p-a-r-t-y!
Multi-Ethne Church in Alexandria is combining the two by hosting a back to school community drive on Saturday, August 18, from 10am-3pm. Their aim is to help students start school on a successful foot with backpacks filled with school supplies. On top of helping children flourish in the classroom, the community is invited to come out and enjoy food and activities like free lunch, ice cream, moon bounces, and much more.
3. Throw a Back to School Party
Celebrate back to school with a party in your own backyard. Invite all of the neighborhood kids over for an afternoon of jumping through the sprinkler, water balloons, lawn games, and plenty of pizza. Back to school cupcakes (complete with crayons) are sure to be a crowd pleaser. You could even take photos of each child and create these adorable print-out pages for them to commemorate the upcoming year.
4. Take Inventory of Clothes and Supplies
Back to school shopping commercials can make it seem like your kids need to start with brand new stuff every single year. In reality, you likely already have the majority of the necessary supplies at home. Pencils, pens, and notebooks are often hiding in various cabinets and bookshelves, and usually only need a quick sharpening or removal of some used pages to be good as new.
While you’re taking inventory of supplies, take a peek in your kids’ closets. If the younger child can now fit into the older one’s jeans, do a closet swap. If shoes are in good condition and could simply use a quick clean, scrub them down with a bit of baking soda or toothpaste.
Assessing what your family truly needs will help you avoid buying new clothing “just because.” And if you do need to do a bit of shopping, consignment shops like Kid to Kid in Centreville and Little Lords & Ladies in Chantilly offer lightly-used and never-worn kid’s merchandise at incredible prices.
5. Host a School Supplies Swap
You took stock of your supplies and realized you have enough notebook paper for your child write the next great American novel, but have zero colored pencils.
What are the odds someone in your neighborhood has the exact opposite problem?
Host a school supplies swap with the other neighborhood families. Everyone brings together their surplus packs of crayons, markers, erasers, and barely-used glue sticks and divvies them up depending on whose child needs what. This saves everyone’s wallet and sanity, because--let’s face it--a trip to the office supply store wasn’t at the top of anyone’s list.
6. Establish a Study Space
Designating a specific space for studying will get your kids back in the academic mindset. Homework isn’t exactly a party, but it can be made easier with an organized area that features good lighting, plenty of sharpened pencils, and zero distractions.
Choose a quiet spot like the home office, basement, or even the kitchen table. Take a compartmentalized container (a shower caddy works perfectly) to hold all the items that will help them complete their work, such as a calculator, rulers, highlighters, and scissors. To help your kids avoid getting sidetracked, there should be no access to the TV or games. Finally, pick a time every day that is appointed “Homework Time,” and stick to that schedule. Between the consistent location and routine, they’ll be prepared to tackle their work in the most productive way.
7. Make Dinnertime Easy with Dinner Done!
The first two weeks of the school year are packed with activity. The person who says, “Don’t let dinnertime go by the wayside!” has obviously never had to drop off and pick up from CYA soccer practice and attend multiple back to school nights in the same evening.
Luckily, Dinner Done! has you covered. They do the prep work for you, so you can ease into the new school year while keeping your family well fed. Simply shop online for convenient in-store pickup or pop in to their Chantilly location and select from their Grab & Go options. If you can’t fit one more pit stop into your after-school schedule, no worries: they can deliver your dinners right to your door!
Their September menu features such delicious dishes as Chicken Marbella, Turkey Minestrone and Garlic Bread, Penne with White Bolognese, and Honey Garlic Salmon. Each entree serves 4-6, and you can stock up on meals for every day of the week to instantly take care of one of your to-do’s.
Back to school time is both stressful and exciting. Doing your best to prep your family for new teachers, course loads, and extracurriculars will ensure success for everyone--and all before Labor Day!
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