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4 Expert Tips To Combat Back-To-School Scaries

One mom’s favorite ways to set her students up for success.

by Kate Brierley

Spoiler alert: The BTS scaries aren’t just for kids. I’ve been around the block a time or five (for real), and I’m here to tell you this special brand of jitters comes standard with a new school year ahead. They’ll quietly sneak up when you least expect them, often hitting us parents harder than the little ones we’re over here looking out for.

The good news? You can completely sidestep the scaries with a bit of mindful prep. From setting expectations to leaning on your parenting support network and keeping an updated family calendar, I’m bringing you my top tips for a smoother start to the school year for all involved. And because the power of truly personal BTS ’fits can’t be underestimated, we’ve teamed up with the pros at H&M to help your kids serve affordable looks that speak to their individuality and colorful personalities. Empower your kids with on-point outfits they feel good in (and you feel good about). Ahead, find my go-to tips for helping your fam start back-to-school season in style.

Tip 1: Do some digging

Any and all tea you can spill about the school year ahead of time helps your kiddos picture and better prep for it. Share as much info as you can about the year ahead by reaching out to their new teacher to introduce yourself, and maybe even your child. Tap into your network to find out which faces your fave student might recognize in class.

Whether it’s a transition year or not, drive by the school to build familiarity or take a tour, if possible. Your littles may be moving on to a new wing or unfamiliar area of the building. These small steps can make a big difference in your child’s comfort level ahead of day one.

Tip 2: Lean on your support network

We can’t do it alone, and fortunately, we don’t have to! The more you can plan to divide and conquer between friends, neighbors, and fellow parents you trust for the coming year, the easier the transition for everyone.

Share bus-stop duties and take turns shuttling your gang between practice, study groups, and beyond. Swap contact info to alleviate stress for those inevitable times when someone’s running late or forgot their lunch. Schedule after-school hangouts, rotating which house is the place to be. Be ready to provide backup and know you’ve got it, too. The feel-good effects of feeling seen and supported as parents trickles down to our kids.

Tip 3: Encourage individuality

Different personalities, needs, and preferences can make back-to-school clothes shopping challenging, to put it politely. That’s why I recommend getting your crew involved in deciding which pieces will make them look and feel best for the season ahead. Whether they’re mixing and matching, building on the basics, or making bold wardrobe moves, help them start fresh with looks to inspire, empower, and boost confidence.

H&M is my go-to brand for dressing kids from two to teen stylishly, sustainably, durably, and comfortably — all at a price that fits my budget. (And psst, bonus tip if you wanna score extra “cool parent” points: The fashion gods are telling me that collegiate sweaters, vintage-inspired varsity jackets, pastel crewnecks, and trendy denim are about to be everywhere this year.)

Tip 4: Keep a family calendar

Create a family calendar that lists appointments, practices, and everything in between, and place it somewhere highly visible in the home. Don’t forget to add in the fun stuff like birthday parties, holidays, and other happenings! I use (and reuse) a dry erase version with fun-colored markers.

Not only does creating a shared calendar keep your personal brand of chaos more organized, but it sets expectations for the coming week(s) in a way that kids can really connect with. If they’re just learning the days of the week, it makes a great way to practice. And if they’re a bit older, checking off events and days as “done” can be a great task for building a bit of responsibility (and a sense of satisfaction!).