We’ve had a really fun summer getting out and exploring our city. We left no playground, splash pad, or ice cream shop unturned and I think we could all say it was a summer for the books. However, once August rolled around, I knew it was time to start getting Edith in the back to school mindset (but wasn’t this just yesterday!?). Here’s a few ways I started prepping her for the transition to Kindergarten.
Switch your sleep schedules
For us, Summer is all about staying out late to get the most out of our days, and sleeping in with lazy mornings. However, that is all going to change come September. So a few weeks ago, I switched the girls to an earlier bedtime, making sure that we are home around 7:15 to start winding down for the night to get them asleep by 8pm. I’ve also tried to get in the habit of waking up at 6:30 in the morning no matter what. This way I have time to get dressed and enjoy a cup of coffee before the girls get up. After all, it’s a lot easier to make sure everyone is out the door on time if I’m not trying to make breakfast and touch up my make-up at the same time.
prep your mornings
I like to make mornings as easy as possible because I know, no matter what, I’m always going to be begging someone to put their shoes on or looking for the homework assignment from the night before. Some of my favorite tips are picking out our clothes before and laying them out so there is no argument in the morning, pre-packing lunches using leftovers from dinner, and having fast and easy breakfast options ready to go. Some of my go-to breakfasts include toaster waffles with fruit, yogurt pouches with almond butter toast and bananas, and egg, cheese, and bacon muffins.
Usually in the afternoons during Lilah’s nap I let Edith watch a movie so that I’m able to catch up on work. But a few weeks ago I gave her a new Amazon Fire 8 HD Kid’s Edition tablet that comes with a 1 year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited with purchase. FreeTime allows you access to thousands of educational books, games, videos, and apps. The tablet made the switch from TV to books a lot easier and we were able to sit down together and browse some easy to read titles and education apps for her to start practicing and learning with. It’s amazing how much progress she’s made in her reading in just a month! The Parent Dashboard also provides you with Discussion Cards. Discussion Cards are a summary of your kid’s activities on the tablet, as well as sample questions about their activities and how it relates to the world around them today. It helps Aaron and I follow-up with her comprehension skills and opens us up to other engaging discussions.
Have a family calendar
Between Edith’s and Lilah’s separate after-school activities, Aaron’s work commitments, social events, playdates, and school holidays, it can be hard to remember which day is which. I go out and buy a really big wall calendar and we sit down at the beginning of every month and write in all of our important appointments, dates, and commitments. It helps us all feel more prepared and organized. I like to keep it extra organized using different colors for each member of the family and index PostIt notes for items that may be changed or rescheduled. That way I can move it around as needed without crossing off a bunch of items on the calendar.
refresh screen time rules
As I mentioned above, Edith gets to use her tablet during Lilah’s nap time but I’m also guilty of allowing them both to use it this Summer while I get dinner ready after we’ve had a long day out at the park or in the morning so I can sleep in a little (especially since I was sick most of the month or Aaron has been traveling). One of my favorite features of the Amazon Fire 8 Kid’s Edition is the Parent Dashboard. Through the Bedtime feature, I’m able to set limits on when she is able turn turn the tablet on and off and the Learn First feature sets time limits on the specific type of content she is able to access. For example, I really want her to focus on reading so she has a 30 minute timer set for books. I set 15 minute timers for games and apps, and 0 minutes for videos.
We’ve done so much talking and prep for Kindergarten this year that I have every confidence she’s going to do great. Me on the other hand, I’ll be a crying mess staring at the clock until I can go pick her up and hear all about her day.
How do you get your kids ready for back to school? If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the Amazon Fire 8 HD Kid’s Edition tablet. With the two-year worry-free guarantee and one year of FreeTime Unlimited with your purchase it’s value is far above other tablets. It’s definitely been my biggest helper in back to school prep yet!
Photos by Julia Elizabeth for Lucky Penny.