7 Ways to Start Off On the Right Foot this Fall

Just when you’ve found your summer groove—staying up late and then sleeping in the next morning, stretching out in the shade midday with a good book, eating watermelon and French fries for dinner, running barefoot through the grass—it’s time to start thinking about the change of seasons and back-to-school. With fall just around the corner, now’s the time to enjoy what’s left of summer while getting ready for the start of a new season. To help ease the shift from the lazy days of summer to the picked-up pace of fall, here are some ideas and suggestions designed to help get your family off to a great start:

1. Try something you’ve never tried before. Or do something you’ve wanted to do this summer but haven’t had a chance to do yet. Always wanted to go caving? Go now! Curious about the view from Malahat Skywalk’s 250-metre high lookout? Why not take a look?! Is swimming with the salmon on your summer-to-do list? Dive in!

2. Go camping. Celebrate the summer with a camping trip to one of the Island’s spectacular provincial campsites. Stay up late and stargaze. There’s nothing like seeing the stars from outside city limits. Make a back-to-school wish on the first star you see!

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3. Set up a study area, a fun one! Pile comfy cushions to make a reading corner—favourite books within reach. Decorate! Hang a solar-system mobile, framed artwork, maps and/or a whiteboard. Be desk-ready. Have a good chair to support sitting for awhile and a small desk. Let kids decorate their desk with washi tape or colourful accessories.

4. Shop for school supplies—label everything!—and fill a back-to-school backpack. Sure there’s the standard school-issued list of have-to-haves, but let kids get creative and add a few personal touches: a crazy new pencil case, maybe, or a fun new lunch bag. Or host a supply swap and share any surplus supplies.

5. Reconnect with classmates. Throw a pizza party in the park. Or a neighbourhood barbecue. Walk the route to school with kids who will be walking the same route. Organize a walking or riding “school bus” and make plans for the first day back.

6. Set up a family organization station where notices, permission slips, paperwork and school-related correspondence get dropped at the end of the school day. Take a few minutes to enter any important dates in the calendar or fill out any required forms.

7. Set aside some time—walking home from school, at dinnertime, before bed—to really check in and find out how your child’s day went. Replace the question “how was your day?” with “what was the best thing that happened at school today?”

Here’s to all of the good days ahead and getting off to a great start!

– Sue Fast

Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource