I can’t believe school is starting back up in just a couple weeks! I’ve got a kiddo heading off to kindergarten this year, and it seems like summer just flew by. Whether you have kids going off to college or little ones who aren’t in school yet, most families start to wrap up their summer vacations and relaxed schedules and move toward a regular routine. I’m a little sad summer is coming to an end, but I’m so excited for what this school year holds! And to be honest, I’m ready to help our family get on a regular schedule and routine.
Whatever stage of life you’re in, I’ve got a few tips on how to make the school week go a bit more smoothly (you know, to limit the number of last-minute pizza deliveries for dinner and squabbles over what to wear each morning). So, without further ado, here’s the Dazzling Diva Back-to-School Guide 2021!
Stress-Free Back-to-School Guide
1. Reset Your Schedule
A couple weeks before school starts, nudge everyone back onto a regular schedule so the first week won’t feel like a shock. According to WebMD, 3-6-year-olds need about 10-12 hours of sleep. For preschool and early-elementary kiddos, your schedule might look something like this:
School Day Schedule
- 6:15am wake up & get dressed/ready
- 6:45am eat breakfast
- 7:15am leave for school
- 3:00pm pick up
- 3:30pm snack and play/break
- 4:00-5:00pm homework/reading (folder and backpack check for parents)
- 5:30pm dinner
- 6:30pm bath/shower
- 7:00pm read/wind down/bedtime routine
- 7:30-8:00pm lights out!
2. Family-Friendly Meal Prep
Now, to the all-important, ever-pressing question: what to eat? Your schedule will go SO much smoother if you plan easy, healthy meals ahead of time (such as on the weekend).
Whether you’re just a meal planner or want to go all the way with full prepping, both are incredibly helpful. If you’re like us, you may struggle with finding meals (and meal times) that work for the whole family. Tiny taste buds tend to be quite picky (I feel like I make the same five “meals” for my kids on repeat).
So, help them branch out a bit and get everyone on board with these easy fan favorites:
- Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins (Make ahead and eat throughout the week as snacks, or freeze for later)
- Classic Bagels & Cream Cheese or Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Bagel
- Make-Ahead Cheesy Breakfast Burritos (Freezable)
- On-the-Go Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt Smoothie
- Make extra pancakes/waffles on the weekend, freeze them, and pop them in the microwave or toaster during the week.
- ADORABLE breakfast toasts
I’ll be honest, this is not my most creative area of expertise. So, I’ll leave you with these two fantastic sources:
*Note: Some schools do not allow peanut butter due to allergies, so be aware of that as well.
**I LOVE these perfectly segmented boxes that eliminate the need for sandwich bags: www.easylunchboxes.com
You can find ENDLESS weeknight recipes on Pinterest. But, here are some of my favorites (that my kids love, too):
- Korean Ground Beef Bowls—Keep this simple as-is, or load it up with veggies like a stir fry.
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
- Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Basil Chicken—I add pasta at the end and serve with broccoli or green beans.
- One Pan Enchiladas
- Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
- Classic Oven Pot Roast (y’all, this is the EASIEST, most delicious pot roast recipe. It’s 5 minutes of prep, and it always impresses guests—and my family—with basically zero work or cooking know-how on my end.)
3. Capsule Wardrobe—For Kids!
There are sooo many cute clothes out there for kids (don’t you wish they made those cute and comfy clothes in our size?!) But, before you get too carried away with the back to school shopping, don’t forget to keep it simple and functional as well.
While updating your kiddo’s closet, keep in mind the dress code. Whether they’re headed off to daycare, preschool, public school, private school, or your living room, stay realistic (and within dress code) when purchasing clothes.
If you have a preschooler or early-elementary child, a capsule wardrobe is a great way to help them gain independence by picking out their own clothes and dressing themselves (without looking like its Halloween).
If you aren’t familiar with a capsule wardrobe, the concept is to get a few staple items that all coordinate and can easily be swapped out. Maybe a few pairs of leggings and jeans, a few dresses and skirts (if your girl is into those), some versatile blouses, and a few cute layers such as vests, cardigans, and light jackets. All of these should somewhat complement for easy matching, no matter what your child reaches for. It’s Texas, so it may be chilly in the classroom and blazing outside. Layers will keep your cutie comfortable. Here are a few examples of capsule wardrobes:
Pssst—You know what else the capsule wardrobes help with (in addition to less laundry)? Coordinating cute outfits for family photos. 😉 If you have a session coming up, you can check out my boy’s client closet and girl’s client closet as well.
4. Get Your Supplies Together
Some schools allow you to preorder school supplies so that they’ll be ready and waiting in the classroom when your child arrives. But, if that’s not available, purchase necessary school supplies about two weeks before school starts to make sure everything is in stock and you aren’t racing around to different stores.
Label ev-er-y-thing. It’s amazing how even our older kids misplace their stuff amid the back-to-school excitement (seriously, how did you lose your dental retainer?!😳 )
If you don’t feel like labeling everything in Sharpie, these durable and cute custom labels work well for everything from clothing to cups, and they have waterproof labels available as well—check out Name Bubbles!
In addition to classroom supplies, make sure your child has the essentials:
- Water bottle
- Emergency To-Go Snack in Backpack
- Umbrella (if walking)
- Hand Wipes/Sanitizer
- Travel Kleenex
- Face Masks (if needed)
- Technology Chargers (if needed for phones, tablets, laptop, etc.)
- Extra change of clothes for younger kiddos (even elementary—messes happen)
Back to School | 2021-2022 School Year
Remember, all of these tips are intended to make the first week back as stress-free as possible, not add more stress or “to-do’s” to your plate. Take and use what will work for your family, and toss the rest if you’d like! Here’s to an awesome 2021-2022 school year! You’ve got this.
Dazzling Diva Photography Graduate & Senior Portraits
PS—If you’ve stumbled across this post but don’t have a little one, don’t forget Dazzling Diva does senior portraits as well! If you have a graduate to celebrate, I’d love to help. Senior portraits are great for family albums, year books, athletic programs, graduation announcements, and more! Get in touch with me here for more info.