The ABC's of Back To School 2021

Kristen Kittel

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What an exciting time of year! Whether you are gearing up for more remote learning or getting excited about going back to in-person, the start of any new school year is a treasure trove of wonder and potential.

Here are some ideas and suggestions for making the most of right now and planning for whatever might be ahead:

“A” Is For Apps

Check out MyHomework and Duolingo.

The first is an excellent tool for staying organized, setting reminders, earning rewards, and more.

The second is a wonderful way to supplement language learning. Perhaps you’d like to be supportive or learn French as a whole family? This system is equally good for kids and adults. Keep your eye out for any new tech developments like these that can keep things fun and help develop learning skills.

“B” Is For Backpacks

Beyond the school’s list of necessities, a back-to-school backpack helps keep kids prepared and allows them to show their style. Since it’s also what’s inside that counts, make sure all notebooks and pencils have some personalization or pizzazz (they’ll be easier to utilize if they are inspirational and joyful). Don’t forget extra masks (that fit snugly but are not too tight) and hand sanitizer. If your littles are in elementary school (or if your older kids like fidget toys) “pop its” are the hot thing this year. They come in unicorns, cupcakes, hearts, pineapples, etc., and are sure to please everyone (even as adults, don’t we all live for popping bubble wrap?!).

Important Reminder: Label everything. Don’t expect your kiddos to be perfect nor to take up valuable brain space remembering which Captain Marvel lunch box is theirs.

“C” Is For Clothes

"C" can also be for comfy. School re-entry is bound to be easier if you don’t stray too far from the easy fashion most people (of every age) have come to enjoy in the last year+. Stick with what makes everyone happy- like joyful colors and soft fabrics.

If you haven’t stocked up already, check out the awesome back-to-school deals still going on at American Eagle, Adidas, J. Crew, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nike, Old Navy, and Target.

“D” Is For Donuts

August 30 to September 5, anyone who shows their COVID-19 vaccination cards will get two completely free donuts at any Krispy Kreme location. Bonus: one of them is heart-shaped! (And never fear; if you miss this adorable and quick “Show Your Heart” campaign, you'll still be able to get one free donut everyday through the end of 2021 simply by showing verification that you are vaccinated.)

Even if you’re not a Krispy Kreme person, you should still get the donut. You might have allergies, or maybe you are on a health kick, but you can also make someone else’s day by gifting a delicious glazed donut to your child’s new teacher or anyone who might need a pick-me-up right now. Then be sure to find another way to treat yourself too! You deserve it!

“E” Is For Eating

A quick refresher: When packing school lunches, aim to include protein, veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, plenty of water, plus something unexpected. Variety and options are necessary to keep any kid’s tastebuds engaged so they can be well-fueled for whatever each day has in store for them.

“F” Is For Friends

Schedule some in-person play dates to assist with dusting off any rusty social skills (both for parents and kids). If your child is nervous about going back, check in with other parents to see how their kids are coping and start building a support network to share ideas. Make sure to keep communication as open and honest as possible, so you and your loved ones can make the most of this exciting new year.

“G” Is For Go Easy On Yourself

DON’T AIM FOR PERFECTION EVERY DAY. Be kind to yourself, your kids, their friends, their teachers, your PTA cohorts, and the school janitors... We’re all doing the best we can making uplifting contributions to our communities. But know that we’re also going to make mistakes together. School isn’t just about learning numbers and letters; it’s about raising good citizens and engaged community builders. Set a positive example for your student by doing your best but forgiving yourself when your best may get a little sloppier than you’d like.

“H” Is For Help

Employ the school’s resources (as well as local libraries or your most vocal neighbors) for anything you may be struggling with or have questions about. Here's an additional tool regarding the latest suggestions for mental, physical, and emotional well-being for heading back to the classroom this year.

... ”Z” is for Catch some Z’s

We could continue through the whole alphabet but we’re jumping to “Zzz” because plenty of sleep is such an important part of being ready for the day. Set regular bedtimes that allow for homework to get done and students (and parents) to be rested up for the challenges each new school day may bring.

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A lifelong storyteller and curator of unexpected art, passionate about positivity, eager to support other creators and artists, advocate for quiet voices, and a voracious connector of surprising ideas and people.

Seattle, WA
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