There are plenty of back-to-school tips flying around this time of year: when to start getting ready, how to deal with schedule changes and more. Parents typically offer each other this advice. But who knows more about the ins and out of getting ready to go back to school than the ones actually going back? We asked kids ages 5-12 to give their parents a few pointers. Check out their helpful (and sometimes hilarious) back-to-school advice.

The players:
Molly: Kindergarten
Dillon: Kindergarten
Lily: 1st Grade
Carter: 3rd Grade
Mia: 3rd Grade
Will: 7th Grade

What should parents let their kids do the last night of summer?

Molly: Let us get candy.
Dillon: Stay up later.
Lily: Stay up late and play.
Carter: Go out for ice cream to celebrate the last night.
Mia: Do whatever I want.
Will: Go out to eat at a good restaurant.

Kids just want to have fun. They want to use their last night to simply enjoy being a kid and celebrate the summer that was.

What time should you go to bed on a school night?

Molly: 8
Dillon: 8:15
Lily: 8:30
Carter: 8 or 8:30
Mia: 9
Will: 9:15 or 9:30

It turns out kids are pretty realistic, too. As they get older, their bedtimes increase in small increments.

What’s the best breakfast to eat before school?

Molly: A sandwich.
Dillon: A bagel.
Lily: Milk and cereal.
Carter: A bowl of cereal and an apple and a banana.
Mia: Pancakes.
Will: A breakfast sandwich.

As long as kids have a full belly to start the day they’ll be happy. Specific breakfast foods are up to each family, but it’s something that doesn’t seem to change much over the years.

Do you want to have a packed lunch or buy it at school?

Molly: Buy it.
Dillon: Buy it, but only if I like it.
Lily: Buy it.
Carter: Pack it, because I don’t eat much that they have.
Mia: Buy corn dogs.
Will: Buy it.

This might break the hearts of parents who meticulously pack healthy lunches as the sun comes up each morning. Buying lunch will always be more fun.

What’s the best way to make you do homework?

Molly: Drawing on it.
Dillon: Let me have a treat while doing it.
Lily: By getting help.
Carter: Let me have a treat, and let me play outside for a bit when I get home first.
Mia: Tell me the answers.
Will: Being by myself to have full concentration.

We know that every kid learns differently, and they have different styles of getting work done. Consider making a “homework space” for your kids that is free from distraction, and allowing time for breaks and help from an adult. Test new ideas to see what works best for them.

What’s one way you can help your parents keep the house clean during the week?

Molly: I can vacuum!
Dillon: By not playing with any stuff.
Lily: I will clean mommy and daddy’s room.
Carter: I can clean up my toys.
Mia: I can dust.
Will: I just do what they say.

With everyone’s schedule about to change, you can establish new household responsibilities. In addition to doing homework, consider asking your kids to do 15 minutes of cleaning each night. Ask them what they think they can do to help out.

What can your parents buy that would make you excited to go back to school?

Molly: Cookies!
Dillon: Shopkins!
Lily: An eraser, a pencil and a clip-on backpack animal.
Carter: Something super cool that I could use at school.
Mia: Anything I want. How about a dog?
Will: Absolutely nothing.

Fortunately for parents of younger kids, it looks like it’s pretty easy to get them excited — at least about the idea of school. But reality sets in as they get older, and you might need to be creative to get them excited. Whether that means buying a dog or not is up to you.

Now it’s your turn! Share your kids’ answers on our Facebook page.

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