Just a couple months ago, school let out and you began planning your family’s summer road trip. Remember that? Traveling up and down the Atlantic coastline. Soaking up sun on Jacksonville Beach. Relaxing in the Golden Isles. Ah! Those were the days!
What happened? Time happened, that’s what. Replacing those sandy beaches and vacation hotspots is your regularly scheduled program of morning drop-offs, afternoon pick-ups, homework, and afterschool activities. Such is the life of a busy parent.
Before summer break officially ends, enter Mom/Dad Mode and start prepping for the new school year like a pro. Check out these expert tips for parents who need advice on tackling back-to-school season. (Good luck and godspeed!)
1. Invest in a good family vehicle
Of all the back-to-school parent tips, this is one that gets overlooked quite regularly. If your current vehicle isn’t really working out for you and your family, you may need a newer one. This is when you get on the same level as your children and do some homework; that is, start researching the best vehicles for families.
Need the best vehicle for a family of 6? That might be the Honda Pilot, which is frequently regarded as not just a good family SUV, but an excellent one. It comes equipped with numerous parent-friendly features, like three rows, a hands-free power tailgate, tri-zone climate control, a rear entertainment system, and Honda’s in-car PA system, CabinTalk, which allows those in the front to easily communicate with those in the back.
If you need to buy the best vehicle for a family of 8, you’ll undoubtedly adore the parent-friendly nature of the Honda Odyssey. The new Odyssey is packed with Honda Pilot’s “Best Mom SUV” genes, but also adds a few flashes of uniqueness. Odyssey comes with configurable seating for up to 8, second- and third-row sunshades, 158 cubic feet of cargo space*, and CabinWatch, Honda’s innovative back-row monitoring camera. There’s a reason it’s constantly voted as one of the best minivans for families.
Simply want to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle for carpooling to and from school? Look no further than the Honda CR-V Hybrid, one of the best SUVs on gas. Not only does it get good gas mileage, but the new CR-V Hybrid is also ranked as one of the safest family SUVs thanks to standard Honda Sensing.
See how the Honda Pilot, CR-V and Odyssey compare to rivals.
2. Hang up a family calendar
Your kids will become better prepared for the school year if they are on the same page as you. Hang a calendar somewhere public, like next to the front door, or create a whiteboard calendar on the fridge.
3. Get that bedtime routine back on track
Kids, particularly those under the age of 13, will require extra time to readjust to a normal sleep schedule. Try to introduce this bedtime routine one-to-two weeks before the first day of school.
4. Go back-to-school shopping as early as possible
Avoid potential issues by grabbing all essential classroom items as soon as you receive a list from your childrens’ schools or teachers.
5. Let your kids pick items
As you go shopping for back-to-school items, bring your children along. They may want to pick out backpacks, folders, etc. It’ll be their personality on display, after all, not yours.
6. Have your kids meet their new teacher
Many schools will have “back to school” events for families. Don’t skip these! Your child may have anxiety about the school year, and visiting their teacher before their first day may help to alleviate that anxiety.
7. Afterschool activities are great
Get your children involved in afterschool programs or sports. It will keep them active, especially if they’re in middle school and have no recess time. A side perk to this is that you get a few extra hours to finish up work!
8. To babysit or not to babysit?
If your job makes it difficult to pick your children up from school, it may be a good idea to have a trustworthy “nanny” or sitter help look after your kids until you can get home. Ideal? No. Practical? Yes.
9. Make trips to museums on weekends
Plan to make a few educational trips to local museums or cultural attractions near you throughout the school year. Experts claim that these experiences keep kids’ brains in “scholar” mode.
10. Encourage reading
Even before school starts, try to push your kids to read books that are at or above their current reading level.
11. Try smartphone apps
You can find tons of educational apps on your smartphone or tablet to help you and your children do homework, organize schedules, or even discover supplementary learning materials.
12. Stay up on auto maintenance
With all the work going into figuring out schedules, buying materials, and reimplementing sleep routines, you might forget about your vehicle. Don’t! The last thing you want is to wake up and get the kids ready for school, only to discover your vehicle has a dead battery. Get your routine maintenance and oil changes done on time and by a professional at your dealership’s service center. (Schedule auto service at your First Coast Honda Dealers location.)
13. Have backup transportation planned
In the event your vehicle is just not up to the task — for instance, if it won’t start or when it’s in the shop — you should have a contingency plan to get the kids to school. This could be a nearby friend, a neighbor, a family member, or even having a second vehicle to use.
14. Set goals
Goals are as important to your work life as they are to a student’s school life. Help your children set goals to accomplish per semester or by the end of the year, then keep track of those goals to ensure you’re doing everything you can to help them get finished.
Set up a reward system for your children. With your child, discuss what reward they’d like. Once they accomplish a goal, finish their homework, get a good grade on a test, or complete their chores, they’ll earn that reward.
16. Stay involved
Don’t simply ask them how their day was; figure out ways in which you can participate. Help them do homework every night. Check test scores. Ask their teachers if there’s anything you could do at home to help them overcome a challenge in school.
17. Keep backpacks light
According to experts, children shouldn’t be carrying backpacks that weigh more than 20% of their weight. Be sure you’re not packing too many heavy items inside the bag.
18. Inform the school of medical conditions
If your child has any medical conditions — like allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc. — that must be managed during the day, let the school and nurse know. You may have to provide doctors’ notes and prescriptions before the beginning of the school year.
19. Leave early
Morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups can be aggravating for drivers. School buses are slow. Lines are long. Rush hour can be hectic. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of leaving earlier than you expect.
20. Drive safely
Data suggests that the most dangerous time for all drivers is during the morning (6 to 8 am) and afternoon (3 to 4 pm) hours of a school day. Always keep your eyes on the road and stay alert for pedestrians, cyclists, walkers, and young children crossing the street without looking.
About First Coast Honda Dealers
With various Honda dealerships in Florida and Georgia, we proudly support local parents who are looking for auto service, safe used vehicles or new Honda models. Contact your nearest First Coast Honda Dealers for a quote or to schedule a service appointment near Jacksonville.
Cargo volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.