7 Secrets for Back-to-School Success

Feel confident and prepared with these seven tips for a successful transition back to school.

Leisurely days of summer are dwindling, and the rush of the new school year is upon us. Doctors’ appointments, meal planning, shopping, daycare interviews, endless to-do lists … don’t get lost in the frenzy. Instead, feel confident and prepared with these seven tips for a successful transition back to school. 

1. Last Minute Shopping Sales

If you missed Florida’s sales tax holiday, fret not. Check out Orlando Premium Outlets a fun, one-stop shop for designer brand back-to-school clothes, accessories and shoes. Both the Vineland and International Drive locations are open until midnight. Gap.com is featuring 40% off your purchase with code DEAL, and Target’s adorable line of Cat & Jack™ uniforms are 25% off, and come with a 1 year guarantee.   

2. Make Learning Fun

Orlando-area attractions provide enrichment for school-aged children that bring the textbook to life. Head to Kennedy Space Center to visit the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame inside the all-new Heroes & Legends attraction and see the actual Saturn V rocket and Space Shuttle Atlantis up close. Fifth graders get in free at the “Summer of Mars” program through August. Epcot’s World Showcase is a wonderful way to expose children to various cultures through music, food, language and architecture, from Morocco to Mexico and from China to Canada. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College and CityArts Factory downtown are fabulous (and free!) ways to experience art as a family.

3. Stay Healthy

Before starting school and extracurricular activities, children must to be up-to-date on their vaccines and physicals. With summer vacation in the rear view, it’s also time for parents to get back into a routine of healthy diet and exercise, starting with a medical checkup. The Florida Hospital Medical Group is Orlando’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group. More than 500 physicians and surgeons are ready to offer their expertise and guidance at more than 100 offices across Central Florida. *Sponsored

4. Create a Strong Foundation

Voted No. 1 in childcare five years in a row by Orlando magazine readers, Ladybird Academy provides watchful care and educational programs for infants from 6 weeks old to children in Pre-K. Six area locations make Ladybird a convenient choice for working parents, who can feel confident their children are in the best of hands. *Sponsored

5. Eat on the Go

Sitting down to a family meal the first few weeks of school seems impossible while balancing football and cheerleading practice with dance and piano lessons. But not to worry. You can rely on these Orlando-area restaurants to make family dinners healthy and easy. At Zoë’s Kitchen, order ahead a small or large family meal that includes guilt-free potato salad, fresh fruit, grilled chicken and steak kebabs or roll-ups. Fresh Market on Mills Avenue offers “Little Big Meals” for $20, giving you all the ingredients in one convenient bag to prepare a wholesome dinner at home. Swine & Sons next to Ravenous Pig in Winter Park is another great option, whether you need breakfast on the run, a creative bento box for lunch, or a half chicken and Southern sides for a quick dinner.

6. Get Organized

Now is the time to clean up that clutter that’s been accumulating all summer. Donate old items or put the kids to work in a yard sale. Starting with a clean slate, you can create cool spaces for homework and school projects. Visit IKEA or The Container Store for inspiration or call on the experts at California Closets in Winter Park.

7. Give Back

While you’re out shopping for your children, it’s the perfect time to grab a few extra items for students who aren’t as fortunate. The Salvation Army is once again hosting its Stuff the Bus campaign through Aug. 6 to collect school supplies for hundreds of students in need. Drop off new supplies—like backpacks, pencils, pens, rulers, binders, scissors, markers, glue and hand sanitizer—at any area Krispy Kreme location and receive a free glazed doughnut as a sweet thank you. If you’d like to work directly with students, consider becoming one of the ReadingPals through United Way. Around 40 percent of third graders in Central Florida are reading below their grade level, and good volunteers are always needed for this important and rewarding cause. 

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