Back-to-School season is the perfect time to take stock of all that has changed — for better or worse — over the course of the last year. It’s also a fresh start to set new goals and envision expectations for the year ahead, while transitioning back to the structure of a formal learning environment.
This can be hard during a normal year, and now — after two (plus) years of unprecedented pandemic indeterminacy, the 2022-2023 school year is poised to be like no other.
That’s why we are proud to present our guide on mindfulness for back to school. Read on to find tips and tricks for getting your kids into a positive back-to-school mindset, with an organized schedule, good hygiene, and more. We’ll help you learn all that you need to know and how to earn free gift cards along the way!
Getting Kids Back on a School Schedule
Chances are, your bedtime routine got a bit lax over the summer, with later nights leading to sleeping in and lazily waking up in the morning. But to get back on track might take more than a loud alarm. Getting back on schedule not only puts everyone in a better mood, but relieves the pressure of getting ready for school in the morning and prepares your children to have the very best day, right from the start.
Reinstating a consistent bedtime routine that includes relaxing and quiet activities before bed, and turning off all electronics is the first step. You may also want to help your kids to lay out the next day’s outfit so they will have it ready to put on in the morning. Set up a checklist for morning activities like face washing, teeth brushing, and breakfast.
And after school, the Child Mind Institute suggests providing children with a structured homework schedule, complete with mind-nourishing snack breaks, that can help them to get their studies done while also returning to team sports, music classes, and after-school clubs and activities.
School Days Checklist:
- The Night Before
- Relaxing and quiet activities before bed (no screen-time right before bed)
- Proper hygiene (brushing, washing, flossing, etc)
- Lay out clothes for the next day
- Wake up on time
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Proper hygiene (brushing, washing, flossing, etc)
- After School
- Structured homework and snack time
- Factor in afterschool clubs and activities
We also love the idea of making a morning playlist of your child’s favorite songs, to rock out to in the morning as they prepare for their day. This provides an extra boost of energy and gives them a fun reason to want to get out of bed and get into action. It also helps to cement the routine.
Getting Kids Back Into a School Mindset
No one likes to say goodbye to summer, but transitioning from the days of play, back to school work can actually be fun and exciting, if you thoughtfully shift your children into a positive back-to-school mindset.
There are things about a new school year that can be scary, but also exciting. New learning environments can be intimidating for any student, so communicating with your children about all of the changes that can take place when starting a new school — or just a new school year — will go a long way toward making them feel more comfortable and confident.
Among the things that you can do to make back-to-school easier on your children, is to infuse it with excitement and happy thoughts. Some students get a thrill at just the thought of fresh new school supplies (64-piece Crayolas, anyone?). Allowing your kids to choose what they want, within budget, can make them more enthusiastic about using their new planner and pencils.
The same goes for clothes. Seeing old friends and making new ones can be a point of anxiety, but looking sharp for a new year of school is one thing that can alleviate nerves and help them feel stronger and more put together. Also, allowing your kid to have input on their lunch and snack foods is also empowering and promotes independence.
Gathering school supplies, a new school wardrobe, and helping your children to prepare themselves, is the best way to get in the right mindset for starting school. Getting back into a routine, as described above, as well as having a decluttered room, an organized backpack, and a clean study space, can make all the difference.
Proper Hygiene for Back to School
School-aged children will feel more prepared for the adaptations of the 2022 classroom when they have better knowledge of safety precautions like proper health and hygiene.
According to the Annals of Family Medicine, lessons in hand washing, coughing/sneezing, and appropriate mask-wearing, are helpful to reduce the spread of germs, and ensure that children feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment.
For younger children, personal hygiene is often taught and reinforced in elementary and middle school, so parents can assist in teaching by example. Parents can provide tools to help like colorful visual aids, and give kids their own toothpaste, hand soap, and shampoos. It’s a bonus that these products usually look and smell attractive to them, so they’ll be more likely to want to use them!
Choosing Clubs and Sports for the New School Year
Clubs and activities allow children to spark interests outside of their daily classroom curriculum. These enrichment activities can be tough to fit into family schedules, but they are often cited to enhance children’s social and academic skills. And, there are a lot of choices.
Whether your child gravitates toward physical activities or more creative, artistic, or intellectual pursuits, extracurriculars can help them find new passions, create friendships, and develop team and time management skills. Not to mention they look great on college applications and may even help your child decide on a future career!
You can find an activity to suit almost any type of child, so how do you choose?
Sports, including youth team sports, have been linked to a sense of belonging in the school or community, as well as forging close social ties among peers — for students and parents alike. They are also great for exercise and physical fitness.
Theatre, dance, singing, drawing, painting, and even graphic design clubs are all available for kids who enjoy these artistic endeavors. Keep in mind that your child may also enjoy these clubs if they appreciate stagecraft or want to explore behind the scenes of these arts as well. Skills like design can even become a career.
Studies show that social and humanitarian-minded students who join service organizations gain leadership skills and are often motivated students who excel in their studies and score well on exams.
Intellectually stimulated kids might enjoy taking their class curriculum to a new level in clubs for math, debate, business, and science. Model UN, or even a role in student government, could interest a student that enjoys politics, public speaking, or advocating for innovative solutions.
If your child loves nature as well as learning basic skills of all types, they may gravitate toward scouting, which offers badges in discovery areas like camping, of course, but also art, finance, and even goal setting.
For younger children, you may need to offer some guidance as they test out their interests. For older kids, let them choose what sounds most fun!
What Parents and Kids Need to Know
Back-to-school season has always been at least a little bit stressful, but preparing for the 2022-2023 school year has been especially daunting for many since there are so many changes, and anxieties surrounding a full return to the classroom. While much feels like a return to “normal,” there are still a lot of new policies and feelings for your family to wrap its head around.
Here are a few of the major changes for the 2022-2023 school year:
COVID vaccines are now available for anyone over six months old, which helps many families to feel safer sending kids into classrooms and social situations. Most schools have mask options or suggestions, but few schools have mask requirements in place. Direct exposure may necessitate students to recuse themselves from school or after-school activities, depending on the presence of symptoms.
Schools nationwide are taking safety extra seriously this year, so you and your children may see more cameras, additional school resource officers, and other safety and surveillance measures. Some school districts have taken the extra measure to require clear backpacks for all students.
Free & Reduced Meals
Federal funds supporting free meals for all have expired. Some students may still qualify for free and reduced-price meals, however.
Teachers & Bus Drivers
Nationwide, there appears to be a shortage of both available teachers and bus drivers that is impacting class size, instruction, and transportation to and from school.
Many school districts are introducing a new grading and reporting policy this year that includes a revised K-12 grading scale, allowable deductions for late work and missing assignments, and standardized grading categories.
Tips for Saving Money on Back to School
Another thing to consider about the 2022-2023 school year is that supply chain issues are still affecting the availability of many products and inflation is making just about everything more expensive!
As the Back-to-school season heats up, inflation woes in particular have families struck by higher prices on everything from backpacks to ballpoint pens. According to the National Retail Federation, last year Back-to-school shoppers hit a record high of $37.1 billion spent, as families with children in elementary through high school spent an average of $848.90 on school items.
But with inflation and supply concerns continuing to impact the overall price of goods, families are expected to spend even more than last year. A basket of about a dozen supplies went up nearly 15% on average this year, compared to last Back-to-School season, according to retail analytics firm DataWeave, as reported in the Associated Press. Backpacks alone are up 12%!
But while the sticker shock is … shocking, we know that families consider school supplies and clothing as essentials, so we have some tips that will help you save so you don’t have to cut back on your Back-to-School shopping this year.
Fetch Pro-Tip: Redeem your Fetch points for gift cards that can be used on back-to-school expenses. And, don’t forget to look for Special Offers and bonus points for back-to-school supplies like Ticonderoga pencils.
Check for your state’s tax-free holidays. Many states, including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, offer special days — usually right around the start of the school year. Families can save by avoiding taxes on everything from clothing to school supplies to even, in some cases, computers and electronics. Make a special note of these days to get your major shopping done.
Hold Out for Labor Day Sales
Right around the corner from the start of the school year are the annual Labor Day sales, which usually offer some of the best discounts of the entire year. If you can wait to buy some of the items that aren’t needed on the very first day of school, you’re likely to save yourself a bundle.
Shop Clearance and Overstock
Back-to-School clearance sales help parents on a tight budget. For example, Target is usually clearing its shelves to make room for Halloween by late August, but by mid-September, everything is usually up to 70% off. Old navy offers kids’ clothes on clearance prices as early as the start of August with continued deals all month — as low as $2!
Use Reward Offers and Loyalty Programs
Joining store loyalty clubs and taking advantage of reward offers for doing your essential shopping is another great way to save. Not only can you join at individual stores, but you can use an app like Fetch to rack up additional savings on the items you need for back-to-school.
Fetch has its own special clubs like Pepsico Tasty Rewards, Huggies+, and General Mills Good Rewards that give you access to even more special offers and opportunities to earn tons of points. And, all you need to do for these free savings is take a quick photo snap and upload it to the Fetch app.
Your points, which can be seen in your account within seconds, can be redeemed for gift cards for purchases on everything from groceries to gas, clothing, and other back-to-school supplies.
General Mills Good Rewards, for example, can earn you up to 1500 points this season on your favorite cereals and yogurt or any other products from more than 45+ brands like Nature Valley, Cheerios, and Pillsbury.
There’s a lot happening as we enter this new school year, so use this opportunity to concentrate on mindfulness for Back-to-School. By following these tips, you and your kids will be better able to shift, stabilize your energy, and focus on school… and saving!
Start Earning Free Gift Cards
If you don’t have the Fetch app, it’s not too late to start earning points for free back-to-school gift cards.
Just hit the buttons or scan the QR code below to get started.
Have a great, mindful school year, and happy snapping!