PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Local mom and Instagram influencer Lauren Hartmann shared tips she wished she knew before sending her kids off to school for the first time.
Hartmann is the mother of an incoming 2nd grader, a kindergartner and a 3-year-old. She said setting expectations and priorities will help you get through the back to school rush.
“It feels overwhelming all the stuff that you have to buy for back to school,” she said. To create the same feeling, however, she said it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
“If you’re not getting a new backpack, reusing your backpack from the year before, go take a trip to the accessory store at the mall and go pick new keychains or some patches for it,” she recommended.
She also encouraged creating a tradition surrounding the first day of school, like s’mores in the backyard, so kids have something they can look forward to every year.
Parents should prepare themselves for the adjustment their kids will go through, she said.
“Know that they’re gonna come home and they’re gonna be really grumpy because they have spent the whole day being on their best behavior, sitting still and being quiet, and that’s really hard for kids,” she said.
And save those questions about their day until kids have had some time to decompress. She suggested asking a specific question like ‘who did you play with’ or ‘what’s a silly thing that happened’ to get the conversation started. She also said using a journal can be helpful.
“There’s back and forth journals that ask questions, you can write back and forth. So that’s another fun option just to connect with your kids.”
Prepare yourself for the onslaught of paperwork and art projects as well.
“It’s ok not to save everything, but to have some type of a system set up ahead of time so that you can save your favorites,” she said. To document on social media, she recommended creating a hashtag.
“So then you can go back and kinda document and keep track of things throughout that year of school, which is another fun and modern way to do it.”
Hartmann is in favor of not overcommitting during the first few weeks of school with extracurricular activities. She tries to keep activities at a minimum so her family can get settled into their routine.
“We kinda wait until we get into the routine and then we do more activities just because that’s all we can handle is school for a little bit – and that’s ok.”