As I was browsing Facebook the other day, I noticed a friend’s picture of her adorable daughter all excited about her first day of kindergarten. What?! How can it already be back to school time? We experienced record high temperatures of 108 in Portland last week and this week we are still in the 90’s. This heat wave definitely feels like summer! Well, I realized parents living in other parts of the country are already packing school lunches and wishing kids a happy school day. We still have a couple of weeks to go here in the Pacific Northwest before the kiddos head back but seeing my friend’s picture reminded me that it might be a good idea to start planning for a stress-free transition back to school.
Here is my quick back to school checklist for happy kids and a happy mom:
Purchase school supplies
I looked up to see if the school supply list was already posted on the school website and no way, it was! I printed two copies so each one of my kids could check off items and feel in charge. Before we left for the store, I checked if we still had any school supplies left from last year. To avoid any discussions about wanting vs. needing stuff in the middle of the store aisle, I made sure to set expectations with the kids on what we would definitely not need this year. While our school supply shopping still took forever and my head felt like it was spinning from kids excitedly showing me notebooks and backpacks and lunch boxes and….. all at the same time, I survived the trip and got the job done. Pfff!
When I talked with my mom about the experience, she told me I got “a cookie from my own dough” which is a Dutch expression that means “a taste of your own medicine”. It’s true. I loved shopping for school supplies as a kid!
Get important appointments scheduled
It is so much more difficult to schedule appointments when school is back in session. Between homework assignments, after school activities and other commitments, it can be so tricky to fit appointments into a busy schedule. It doesn’t always work out but I try to schedule our kids’ medical, dental and orthodontic appointments while we are still on summer break. If the timing doesn’t work out due to insurance requirements or spacing between appointments, I look for dates on the calendar when the kids have a teacher planning day or other no school day.
Plan after school activities for fall
Whether you are planning for child care after school or extracurricular activities, it helps to plan ahead. Does your child need new soccer cleats? Now may be the time to find them on sale! Do your kids’ activities overlap or fall on the same days? Are you planning to carpool with other parents? Time to figure out the weekly schedule!
Get our kids on a regular sleep schedule
I’m not always good about getting enough sleep myself but I am a big believer in our kids getting good sleep! Quality sleep makes such a big difference in their moods and everyone knows it’s important for learning. Our kids must have been growing a lot this summer because it seems that all they do right now is eat and sleep! They have been sleeping in really late so the plan is to start getting them back on a regular sleep schedule and waking them up earlier so the shock is not as great when that first day of school alarm bell rings!
This is a silly one maybe but besides a new haircut looking good for those first day of school pics, it is nice to start the school year without having to worry about haircuts for awhile! It’s one of those chores that takes quite a bit of time, but at least is easy to schedule. Much easier than doctor appointments or dental appointments! Those first few weeks of school are always crazy busy though, so you will be thankful when haircuts are checked off the list when school starts.
Mark important dates on the calendar
The calendar fills up quickly so it’s helpful to get important school dates on the calendar now. When are the teacher planning days? Any late openings or early release days? When are teacher-parent conferences? Will school host an open house evening? Getting these dates on the calendar helps to avoid scheduling conflicts which leads to more work on your part. Save yourself the headache of trying to frantically reschedule things at the last minute by getting organized now.
What helps your child transition back to school? What helps you to have a stress-free transition? Any other items on your checklist? I would love to hear from you in the comment section. If you find this back to school checklist helpful, please help other parents stay sane and share! Thank you!
P.S. Did you know I have an Etsy shop with bilingual and educational printables? Especially helpful for those parents with kids who are in a Spanish Immersion program, the bilingual printables can help your child to refresh their Spanish language skills before school starts. Click the button above to check them out!
There is a little girl I want you to meet. Her name is Cecilia. She is about 6” tall, has a sweet smile and two sassy braids. The coolest thing about her? She is bilingual! I have been working on Cecilia for months and I’m so excited to finally introduce her to you!
Cecilia is a paper dress up doll that comes with a bunch of cute outfits for both winter and summer, all labeled in Spanish and English. I drew all the illustrations by hand before uploading them into a digital, instant download printable. Playing with Cecilia, your child can practice English and Spanish conversation skills talking about the clothing, the seasons or any other fun topic that comes up! Children can color the simple black and white illustrations with pencils, markers or any favorite art supply. Then, they can cut out the shapes and “dress up” the doll in a cute outfit.
Besides using this bilingual printable as a dress up doll activity and coloring page, your child can also cut out the labels for the clothing and see if they can match the label with the correct piece of clothing as a matching game. While kids of all ages may enjoy this activity, I think kids in preschool, kindergarten and elementary school would especially enjoy it.
Since the time my kids were very little, I have always been on the lookout for bilingual kids toys and books. With kids in Spanish immersion school, I wanted to support their education by providing them with fun activities in Spanish because I’m a big believer that learning should be fun and that kids can learn so much through play. The idea for Cecilia was born from my love for kids, language and bilingual education.
The idea for Cecilia was born from my love for kids, language and bilingual education. "
Cecilia, the paper dress up doll, is available as an instant download pdf file printable in my etsy shop so your child or students can play with this learning activity immediately. After purchase, you can print as many copies as you need for your personal use (or classroom use if you are a teacher). You can find more details about Cecilia by clicking here.
I know that we all get busy but would you leave me a comment to let me know what you think of Cecilia? It would make my day!
Thank you so much!
Just a quick post tonight as it has been a very full week and I need some sleep! I'm super excited to share with you though that I added a second product to my etsy shop today! It is a memory matching game in my native language Dutch.
If you are an English speaker wanting to learn some Dutch because of your heritage, an upcoming trip to Holland, because you are an expat living in the Netherlands or whatever the reason may be, I hope you will enjoy this game to practice your Dutch!
If you are a Dutch speaker who would like to practice English or teach your children English or you are planning travel to an English speaking country such as England or the United States, I hope this memory matching game will be fun for you too!
Because this product is a digital printable, it is easy to bring along on a trip. Whenever we travel back to Holland (a long flight from the west coast of the U.S. for sure), I always bring a memory game for the kids to play. It is easy to play while we wait for the plane in the airport and lightweight to carry along in our luggage.
I would love to hear your feedback about my memory matching games and if you have a connection with Holland! Are you learning Dutch? Thank you for leaving me your thoughts in a comment!
You can visit my etsy shop by clicking the yellow link below. Thank you!
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I opened an etsy shop!! It only has one product in it so far but hey, it's a start, right? I have been thinking about this project for a long time and have been working on it tiny little baby step by little baby step at a time. And now the shop is open and it has one product in it!
What is the product? It is a bilingual memory matching game in Spanish and English designed with my cute illustrations and delivered as an instant download printable. My vision is to create more printables that will help make learning fun for kids and help fellow moms and dads (as well as teachers, homeschooling families and grandparents) expose their kids to a second language. Playing games is an excellent way to connect with a child too!
I came up with the concept for this game as my children have been attending Spanish immersion school and it is difficult to find fun, engaging games to build their vocabulary and practice their Spanish language skills. I have played this game with my very own kids so I know it’s a winner!
Born and raised in Holland, I learned the importance of studying foreign languages because few people outside of my birth country speak Dutch! In high school, I studied 6 different languages and in the process learned that language is an important bridge between groups of people.
Language is an important bridge between groups of people."
I have been living in the United States for a long time now. Here, I see a desire among many parents that their child learns a second language but honestly, it is a lot more difficult when everyone around you speaks English and depending on where in the States you live, you can travel for days in a car without hearing another language. Picture books and bilingual educational games are wonderful resources to introduce a foreign language to your child.
I'm a big believer that learning should be fun so I illustrated the English and Spanish words with cute, whimsical illustrations that celebrate the simple joys in life. All illustrations were first hand drawn and then digitally uploaded by me. Creating this memory matching game has been a labor of love and I hope that shines through!
You can check out my new etsy shop here:
What is your greatest challenge in teaching your child a foreign language? Which language would you like your child to learn?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
P.S. I recently designed gift tags that you can use to add a cute little something to presents for your friends, family and kids. They feature my new daisy flower and popular smiling snowman illustrations so they are perfect all year around - for both gifts in the summer as well as winter. I strive to help you find meaningful gifts for your loved ones so I hope you like this gift tag printable!
Sign up for my email newsletter below and you will receive them as a FREE printable. No more boring gifts!
Illustrations and nature inspired, handmade art gifts that remind us of the simple joys.