Don’t be fooled by the scorching temps, the tinkle of ice cream trucks and the sweet smell of sunscreen: summer is drawing to a close. You can’t fight it. It’s already that time of year. (Remember: the next step after denial, is acceptance.)
While the prospect of having the kids back in school delights many a parent, remembering the busy-ness of the school routine can quickly turn that delight to dread. If this sounds familiar to you, it might be time to revisit your strategy: getting organized early can make all the difference.
Here are some ideas to get you ready before it’s all systems go.
Whether you DIY, get an app (the Wunderlist app is definitely a fave) or download one of the thousands on Pinterest to choose from, first things first – get a list! Start one for school supplies, lunches, clothing – it’s amazing how good you can feel ticking off to-dos.
Having a calendar for important school dates (and work and personal dates too!) is a must for any sane human being. For the digitally inclined, Google Calendar is an obvious choice: it’s free and easy to use on all your family’s devices. But dry erase calendars for home and work can be invaluable – they are always “on”, and don’t require batteries. Try giving each family member a different coloured marker for some seriously sensational scheduling!
Check out this beautiful (and minimalist) printable calendar currently making the rounds on Pinterest.
This school season, think bentos instead of bags. Current lunch-box hotness trends towards nutritionally balanced works of art; perfect triptychs of fruit, veggies and string cheese. Sandwich boxes are an easy way to keep it all sorted; note the colour tabs on this one for the ultra-organized. The best part? No wizardry required.
Personalized labels have come a long way from the drab, peeling stickers that used to adorn every kid’s school supplies. Today’s labels are built to last—and the choices have expanded too. You could stick with the traditional self-laminating variety – or, better yet, stick-on some bling. Your kids will love bejewelling their book bags, notebooks, pens (and themselves) with stickers and DIY jewelry sets to help them keep track of their favourite school stuff.
Once school begins there are so many rules and routines to follow it can all be so…boring. Put a bit of fun into it with a back to school game. Scavenger hunts can be a fun way for little ones to find hidden school supplies (and then for parents to teach them how to put them away). They can also be used with somewhat older kids, to help teach new skills and concepts…just don’t forget the prize at the end!
When all is said and done, the back to school busy is brief and before you know it you’ll find your groove – so don’t sweat the silly stuff! If all else fails, eat cake.
Keeping the earth in great shape is a job for us all, young and old alike. And when it comes to recycling, kids can go green with no problems at all–with just a little guidance. Here are four ways to help your kids be kind to the planet–while having a total blast.
Host A Clothing And Toy Swap
Collaborate with other parents to recycle outgrown clothes and toys. Help everyone sort things by size or type (all the games and puzzles over here!) and see what treasures you can dig up. Afterwards, have some boxes and bags set up so you can drop off anything that didn’t find a new home at a worthy charity.
Make A Game of Post-Dinner Chores
Get your cleanup crew in gear with a cleanup sorting game: can it get recycled, composted or reused? Stoke competitive fire by promising a small prize or treat to the first to get everything put away. Track how much garbage you’re generating and see how your household improves over time.
Make Playtime Eco-Friendly
Is that garbage, or a crafting opportunity? Often old cartons and containers can be repurposed through glue, paint and a child’s imagination. One creative child we know transformed an old (and well-rinsed) laundry softener bottle into an Egyptian pharoah’s headdress, so the sky’s the limit here. Need some entry-level advice? Find those unmatched socks and take a look at this sock puppet guide from the masters of Muppetry, Sesame Street.
Think Green In All Things
When you’re planning a birthday party or a family vacation, brainstorm ways to minimize garbage. Consider giving experiences rather than things for birthdays and holidays. Go for bike rides or picnic in the park. Seek out environmentally friendly after school activities.
The best way to motivate your children to recycle is to demonstrate eco-friendly ways of living, and encouraging them to participate in green initiatives.
In general, creativity combined with a sense of fun make an eco-friendly childhood a snap. Before you throw anything away, consider if it could be reused or recycled in any way. By using fun and participatory activities, you can teach your kids how to recycle and tread lightly on this earth.
Back to school means new classrooms, new school supplies—and a brand new teacher for the year. We spoke to a handful of British Columbia primary- and high-school teachers and asked them what would totally charm them for the new school year. Read ahead for the three things you need to make a great first impression on your instructor.
Help Children Craft the Story of Their Summer
It’s an oldie but a goodie, teachers say: asking students to share stories about their summer.
“It’s a great icebreaker for students if we can talk about our summers together on the first day of class,” says Mindy, who is welcoming back a class of Grade 2 students.
Not only is it a great icebreaker, she says, but the storytelling exercise can help students feel more at ease speaking in class. Many teachers plan to use a storytelling exercise in the first few days. So if your child has social anxiety in any way, or is perhaps just a wee bit shy, you can help by working with them to pick out a great story and practicing at home. A positive initial experience will help your child participate more fully in classroom discussions all year round.
Organize the Not-So-Obvious School Supplies
Many students need more than just pencils and a backpack to navigate today’s classroom. Tuck a thumb drive into their pencil case to make getting homework assignments home a snap. If your teen is smartphone obsessed, ask them if they would like to experiment with an app like Remember The Milk or Wunderlist to help them track homework assignments, university applications and chores.
“Having any usernames and passwords easily accessible also makes the first day go smoothly,” says Lynette, a high school teacher. She recommends figuring out how to get them as soon as school starts, if not in a scheduled computer class, and keeping them tucked somewhere safe until the student has them memorized.
Show Up With Enthusiasm and a Positive Attitude
“Whatever happened last year is in the past. Every one of my students starts with a clean slate,” says David, a grade nine teacher. Every teacher we spoke to reiterated the importance of being enthusiastic about the upcoming year and avoiding defeatist attitudes.
“I hate it when kids come in on the first day and say, you know, I’m no good at math,” adds David. “Everyone has subjects that they find difficult. Positive thinking helps everyone make a good start. It’s okay not to know everything on the first day – that’s why they call it learning!”
Ultimately, going back to school is a matter of preparation that extends far beyond the bookbag. And your child’s teacher is an important partner in helping your child grow into a happy, healthy adult. Charm them and you’ve got a charmed year ahead.
With the final days of school coming to an end for the summer, it may be time to start thinking about how you would like to document your school memories. For parents or students who are looking to thank their teachers or coaches with a year-end gift, photo gifts are a great way to document those memories. The London Drugs photolab has come up with some ideas to capture end of the school year moments for teacher mementos, sports teams, or even school fundraisers.
For those students who learned to cook and create their own recipes in home economics class, a class cookbook is a creative way to document your favourite class dishes. A year-end cookbook can be designed from a compilation of each student’s favourite recipe. Gift your teacher with a custom made cookbook, or create one for each student totake home. Don’t forget to create a customized place mat to go along with your favourite cookbook recipes!
For students who may be transitioning from elementary school to high school or from high school to post secondary, memories of your past schooling can easily be documented in a scrapbook. These mini albums are perfect for sharing and will keep your memories safe for years to come.
Limit your risk to cold, flu and infections during Back to School.
Children will be sharing more than just laughter and snacks with each other as they return to school. With cold and flu season around the corner, London Drugs is committed to helping parents and children learn simple precautions they can take to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
Illnesses and infections such as a cold, the flu, pinkeye, and strep throat are common contagious conditions kids are likely to catch at school. Schools can provide an ideal breeding environment for viruses and bacteria and prevention is the key to help keep kids healthy.
Practicing the following ill-fighting habits will help to reduce the chances of getting sick:
Aside from a good rest, medications are also available to relieve symptoms associated with commonly seen illnesses. London Drugs pharmacists are available for in-store consultation to provide with customers the most up-to-date treatments and care.
Tools needed these days for high school and college-bound kids may be more complex, but can all be found under one roof.
Fuelling the day—From early morning classes to late night studying, Sunbeam can help with hot water dispensers, coffeemakers, kettles and toasters.
Tools—Spend your time thinking while your tools do the hard work. Taking notes in lectures, writing papers, printing out projects, storing assignments (or music!)—get the most from computer notebooks, printers, Maxell portable hard drives and calculators.
Essential earbuds—Music is the fuel that gets you from class to class, through study sessions and life in general. Skullycandy Ink’d earbuds bring it!
Moms and dads, have you checked off all the items on your back-to-school list yet?
Breakfast—Start the day off right with your child’s favourite breakfast cereal. Some cereals also make a great snack to pack for lunch.
Lunch—Send your kids to school with delicious soup or fresh, sliced fruit, kept warm or cool in Thermos bottles, food jars and lunch kits.
Supplies—Give them the best tools with assorted Five Star products. Add a little fun to the school day with Hilroy’s Doodle zippered binder. Pack everything together in a colourful and comfortable backpack.