I'm not sure how this is possible, but somehow preparing for the back to school season is more stressful when you're not actually the one going back to school. When I was a kid, I wasn't exactly stoked when summer ended. Yet, now that I'm a parent, I am experiencing an entirely different level of anxiety, dread, and worry as autumn approaches and I'm getting my own child ready. That's why it's so crucial for partners and your support system to be involved. There are plenty ways dads can and should help with your back to school routine.
Plenty of parents I know, except for those who are teachers, celebrate the beginning of the school year like they just won a car from Oprah. Though it can be a relief to get back some of the free time you missed during the summer, shopping for backpacks, preparing lunches, and arguing over outfits is just another side of the same token.
No matter if this is your first, second, or, "I honestly stopped counting," day of the school year, it never hurts to have a little assistance. So check out these ways your partner can (and should) help with your back to school routine.
Honestly, this is so simple but it can make all the difference in the world. One day, when I was particularly stressed about getting everything perfect for our son's first day of Pre-K, my husband asked me what he could do. Suddenly it all felt doable. Just knowing that he was there, ready to help, and genuinely asking how, did so much. All you have to do sometimes is ask your partner what they need to get involved.
2Offer A Break
According to All Pro Dad, a website founded primarily by former NFL players who encourage fathers to get involved, a great way for dads to help during the back to school season is to plan an activity with your children so you can have some free time to de-stress.
I can't tell you how many times our son has pulled the "ask mommy, then ask daddy," trick in an attempt to get what he wants. That's why it's vital for both partners do be on the same page as the school year approaches. Tanna Clark, a professional organizer, told Parenting, that a good way to prepare for school is to, "ease your children back into routines a week to two before school starts."
One of the biggest parts of getting into your back to school routine is making sure you maintain an open dialogue with the whole family. According to Kids Health, an educational site from Nemours, "it's especially beneficial for parents to be there for the first week. Try to arrange your evenings so you can give kids as much time as they need." Sometimes talking—and listening—is the best way to help kids, parents, and partners transition into new routines.
5Do A Dry Run
Another thing my partner did to help me with our back to school routine was to essentially have a "practice day." Not only did this help our son feel prepared, but it also alleviated a lot of my fears about not being ready enough. You don't have to actually drive to the school during your dry run, but it can be helpful to at least talk about upcoming events.
6Split Up Shopping
Most schools provide parents with a supply list as the school year approaches. No matter how simple or complex your buying guide is, according to PBS, you can reduce your partner's stress by sharing the shopping duties. Whether it's shopping, prepping meals, or something else, talk to your partner about how you can be equally involved.
The dining room table or kitchen counter can quickly go from spotless to a hodgepodge of homework, backpacks, school assignments, and dirty gym clothes. One way partners can help with that aspect of the back to school routine is to have a system in place. According to the U.S. Department of Education, you can, "set up a special place at home to do school work and remove distractions," so you have a space dedicated to studying during the school year.
8Divide & Conquer
You know why the "divide and conquer" concept works? Well, if my husband's video games are any indication, it's because all parties are fully informed and know what needs to be done. According to Parenting, you can create a chart, with each family member's responsibilities, as a way to prepare for the school year. If every person knows what to expect and how they can help, everybody wins.
9Speak Freely & Together
Whenever our family's combined stress levels are getting too high, we try to have a conversation where everyone can feel heard. I know our son appreciates it when he feels both parents are involved. Dr. Gail Gross, a family behavior specialist, told Huffington Post, "what they can do as partners to make the first day of school a pleasant beginning, is invest children in the discussion."