Going back to school can be a time of chaos, or it can run smoothly. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way and had so much chaos—but you don’t have to! Here are a few of the mistakes I’ve made that you can avoid by planning ahead:

1. Bedtimes.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when it came time for my kids to go back to school was not preparing for school bedtimes.


Inevitably, my boys would want to stay up until 11 pm the night before school started. Then when 6 am rolled around, they didn’t want to get up. We’d have a big battle and a meltdown, and then we’d be late for the first day of school.


But it didn’t stop there! Throughout the day they would have meltdowns at school. They would decide that they hated the teacher, they didn’t like the kids they sat near, and they hated school in general.


This would go on for the whole first week of school. We always eventually recovered from the disaster of the first week, but it made for a very difficult start to the new year.


If this happens in your house, you might also have experienced the joy that comes from one sibling trying hard to have a good start to the year while the other is having a nightmare of a first week. It just makes for a chaotic household.


How do you stop this from happening?


We always advise parents to start slowly moving the bedtime back. A week or two before school starts, move bedtime back by 10 or 15 minutes a night, until your child is easily going to bed at their school bedtime. Then, voila! They will be in bed on time the night before that important first day!


2. Shopping.


Bedtime is not the only pitfall to avoid when getting ready for school. Back-to-school shopping is another.


Did you go shopping during our recent tax-free weekend? I think it’s probably a myth that you actually save money that weekend! It seems like sale items go off sale that weekend. You do save the money from taxes, but do you really end up coming out ahead? It doesn’t seem likely.


But, the radio and TV are full of ads talking about what’s on sale. What does this mean? It means the stores are crowded! How many of our sensory kids like to be out shopping in crowds? They really don’t like it, do they?


We encourage parents to consider online shopping. Or, keep an eye on the sales, go on a less crowded weekend, or buy things slowly throughout the summer.


I personally like to buy the PTA pre-packed kits. They are so easy! This way you earn money for the school, and your supplies are there and ready to go on the first day.


Many parents have told me that they buy school clothing and shoes well in advance when it is uneventful. I like uneventful!


3. New school.


Another mistake is not letting my children get familiar with the school. Is your child going to a new school this year? Make some time to drive by it and look at the campus. If possible, visit a classroom and talk to a teacher. Do as many things as possible so that the first day is not a shock.


It’s not just me, of course. Many parents make these mistakes. If you make them, you will survive, of course! But it’s easier to be forewarned and not make them in the first place. Hopefully, by knowing about these pitfalls you can start your year peacefully!

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