The Ultimate Back to School Countdown

Have you had a back to school countdown going on in your house? Are your kids excited for the first day of school, or, are they dreading it? Even if your kids have already started their new school year, this countdown is full of some ideas you can do to make this their best school year yet!

Back to school time is often met with mixed emotions, but the one thing it almost always means is stress! But, it doesn’t have to.

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Here is the ultimate back to school countdown that you never knew you needed starting from a week out. 

back to school countdown

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This countdown isn’t so much about the “to-dos” of back to school, I’ve written about this before, but this is the ultimate countdown because it covers how to really get your kids in the right mindset to go back to school. Sometimes we so easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle with all the shopping and so forth, but we don’t really take the time to prepare our kids (or ourselves!) mentally and emotionally for this huge undertaking.

With that in mind, let’s get on to the countdown.

One week before:

  • Now is the time to start having your kids get up at the correct time in the morning that will allow them to get out the door on time. By starting a week before, you can all ease into it without the pressure of actually having to get out the door!
  • The same is true for bedtime. Start the “school bedtime” now so that it is familiar by the time next week starts. There is no guarantee that your kids will necessarily like starting the bedtime routine early, or like the bedtime routine at all for that matter, but now is the time to get it in place.
  • Create a bedtime routine that works, taking into account various activities that we have. If you have kids’ activities that will keep kids away from home, the routines need to reflect this. We have a family time in the evening, but this time is substantially shorter during the school year because we have older kids who are often out of the house fairly late. Adjustments often need to be made during the school year for things like this.
  • Don’t forget about your kids’ tummies. During the summer kids often get used to grazing, eating meals at strange times that are anything but routine, or even skipping meals altogether. In general, these eating habits are not going to be happening once they are back in school, so getting them used to regular snack and meal times now that will coincide with snack and mealtimes at school will make the first few weeks of school much easier.
  • Get their brain juices flowing by having your kids write a report of something. Maybe it is a trip or an experience they had this summer. They could also do a book summary or a movie summary. The ideas here are many, but engage their minds in something new every day to get those brain juices flowing again!
  • Review schedules, routines, organization methods, and expectations. This just can’t be left off this list.
  • Train your kids in what is expected of them in the back to school life. Things like keeping their calendar, setting their own alarm, making their own lunch, preparing their own breakfast, completing certain chores, and so on. Whatever responsibilities they will have regarding their school routines needs to be covered and practiced starting now in order to avoid issues down the road. You can read more ideas on this is 16 Tips to Surviving the Back to School Frenzy.
  • Schedule one last fun hurrah as a family. It could be a visit to a roller skating rink, a trip to the lake, a night of mini golf, or whatever it is that your family likes to do. Do that something within a week of going back to school.

One day before:

  • The day before should include all the things that you probably already do. Things like gathering school supplies, packing backpacks, deciding on clothing for the big day, and making lunches.
  • Plan one last fun and meaningful activity that is more simple in nature and that goes around the routines that you’ve been working so hard to establish. Let them bond, blow off some steam, and have some fun together.
  • Be certain that your bedtime routine is followed. Kids need to be in bed on time, even if they are bubbling over with excitement. It may be a good idea to limit their sugar intake beyond 4:00…at least if your kids are anything like mine!

The morning of:

  • See to it that everyone gets up on time, even those who are old enough to get themselves up on time. Now is the perfect time to extend some grace to those teens who just aren’t getting up on time despite having four blaring alarms!
  • Give all kids a healthy breakfast that will get them off to a great start.
  • Double check all backpacks and lunch boxes, even though you did that very same things yesterday. Somehow I still manage to find something that was forgotten in these types of situations.
  • Pray over each of your children as they head out. Pray for their school day, for their teachers, for their classmates, for their safety, for open and eager minds, and for them to remain true to the people you have trained them to be no matter what pressures they face.
  • Send them off with a note. Even your older kids. Tuck a note of encouragement or love someplace where they will find it. Even the most resistant of teens will smile.
  • When they return, be available for them whenever they walk through the door. Be ready to hear all about their day, and make a big deal about anything they come home with. They will be full of stories and surprises that they will be eager to tell you all about!

Establishing a back to school countdown is a great way to build excitement in your kids, to be involved in their world, and to build anticipation while also helping keep fears at bay. Make it fun, make it interactive, and make this countdown to back to school time memorable!

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