Seven Ways to Get Your Family Into Back-to-School Mode

Shoshana Lewin

Yes, it's still summer, but that means you have something now you might not have later: time. These back-to-school errands don't all have to be done in the same day - or even the same week. Spread them out and pair each with doing something fun: Haircut and nails. New clothes and ice cream. Trip to the dentist and a movie.

Organize your desk at home for back to school.
  • Create a Great Space: Whether it is a desk in the dorm or at the kitchen table, you'll need a spot for homework. Pick up supplies, like staplers, three-hole punch, highlighters, binders, magnets, Post-It notes, pens and pencils - and keep them organized and easy to find. Places like The Container Store make them in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Shoes, Glorious Shoes:It's time to find that first-day pair of shoes - and maybe some back-ups. If the last time you bought new shoes was last year's first day of school, it might be time for a new pair (or two of sneakers and nicer school shoes. Take advantage of summer sales and stock up.
  • Look Your Best: The dreaded shopping trip can made be easier with compromise. You'll want something nice for the first day (or two based on their class schedule). For younger kids, consider having them select a "weekend" outfit if they let you pick the school one. Or you get to pick the bottom and let them pick the top (or vice versa). For older kids, you might have to pick your battle. Maybe let them select the store they want and you get to pick the outfit. For college age? Make it easy to pack, wash and store (and keep in mind if they are participating in sorority rush, there might be certain types of clothing they have to wear on a specific day).
  • A Cut Above: Get class-ready tresses at your favorite salon or try somewhere new. Don't use this as a time to for a major makeover unless your child asks for one. This look might be the one that lands on their school ID. Why not get yours done too, as a reward for a job well done?
  • Is There a Doctor in The House? Time to get in those appointments at the eye doctor, the dentist and the general practitioner. Make sure you are up-to-date on any vaccines or other medical tests your school requests. For college kids - this is the time to get one last visit it before they go off (and make sure they have all the medical forms they need for the campus health center). Also a good time to stock up on the first-aid kit at home and in the car (especially if your college-age kid is heading back to campus).
  • Time for a Tune Up? That car will be getting a lot of miles as the official "family truckster" once school starts up. Make sure it is in good running order - and a stop at the car wash couldn't hurt.
  • Looking Back and Moving Forward: Wondering what to do with all the homework and art projects from last year? This is where a scanner can help. Scan and save to a flashdrive that you label with their grade. Collect them and give it to them as a graduation present. Then you can recycle or toss the paperwork guilt free! Or pick a few pictures and awards that you love and make a scrapbook.

Other things to think about:

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