Guide to Going
Back to School
with Tia Mowry-Hardrict
Letter from Our Editor
s families wind down what was, for many of us, a summer of reunions and revivals of past traditions in the midst of the seemingly relentless coronavirus pandemic, parents are now readying for the school year — and SheKnows is here to help, along with a few friends. Tia Mowry-Hardrict graces the cover of part I of our back-to-school digital issue, sharing how she’s dealing with her own jitters about this academic year’s uncertainties and reaching for optimism. “Basically, I’m just really leaning on faith,” the actress, entrepreneur, and mom of two says. “But I’m really, really thinking about the kids and their growth. I think it’s important that they go back to school.”
The Essential Guide to Going Back to School is chock full of inspiration, practical tips, and shopping guides to make this unusual return to the classroom smooth, and dare I say it — fun? From how to help your kids get in the right mindset for in-person learning to clothing that’ll help your daughter exude confidence to Joy Cho’s decor tips to create colorful and inspiring homework spaces to cool lunch boxes that’ll be a hit in the cafeteria, and more, our first-ever back-to-school issue has something for kids in any grade. So, ready, set, school!
Eugenia Miranda Richman
Like a Sister
Actress, entrepreneur, and mom of two
Tia Mowry-Hardrict talks exclusively to SheKnows about how she is happily yet prudently approaching a return to the classroom for her kids and how she’s hoping to support
moms with her new cookbook and wellness line.
By Eugenia Miranda Richman
“We cannot do this on our own. I wanted to encourage and inspire other people out there.”
Would You Rather?
With Tia Mowry-Hardrict
By Angela Johnson
My Kids Are Going Back to School for the First Time in 18 Months & I Have All the Feels
Does your family have
If they have a designated homework or play room, the key to keeping things tidy is the opposite of what you’d think. “A lot of times, you’re just trying to shut everything away and you’re trying to hide it,” Cho tells SheKnows. “Make it easy for them to peek in and look.” If they can read, place labels on bins. Keep the tops off or use clear bins and canisters so they can quickly spot where supplies belong.
Supplies Within Reach
Get the creative juices flowing by adding personal flair. With a splash of spray paint and iridescent tape, Cho transformed a ho-hum rolling cart into a statement-making piece. Or, take a boring basket to the next level with some playful pom-poms. You can check out the full tutorial for these two projects here and here.
Display their masterpieces on the wall with push pins or washi tape, which won’t damage your walls. Cho stores retired artwork in a bin, and every few months, sorts through them and tosses what doesn’t feel like a forever piece. Pro tip: send your kid’s artwork to Plum Print, where they’ll turn them into a beautiful picture book.
Just like adults, kids need to change up their scenery to get inspired. Store homework and craft supplies on a rolling cart or in a divided caddy so they can take their project to another room or outside. These portable organizers are also a compact way to corral items when they don't have their own desk or room to work in.
Roll With It
If they have a dedicated room where they can do homework, play, and relax, group items by activity so there’s a clear transition from work to play. “Have the space focused on what your kids are most interested in; my kids are more into arts and crafts than toys, so their playroom is more of a craft room,” Cho says. Some ideas: a reading nook with a bookshelf and cozy chair, an arts and crafts section, and a TV and gaming area (for when they've finished their homework).
In the Zone
he secret to getting your kids excited about doing homework this year? Give them a thoughtfully designed, confetti-covered party room to do it in, of course! That’s exactly what Joy Cho, the founder and creative director of her namesake lifestyle brand and design studio — Oh Joy! — does best. To help make this year’s momentous back-to-school season a breeze, we turned to the mom of two to get a pro lesson on designing a fun and functional workspace that will have kids running to do their homework (yes, it’s possible).
As the most followed person on Pinterest, it should come as no surprise that Cho is anything but color shy — and color shy is the last thing you want to be when creating your kid’s dream workspace. As for keeping things tidy, Cho also shared a few methods with us that’ll make organizing easy for kids, along with DIY ideas to jumpstart their creativity.
Cho's best-kept secret? Give kids choices when designing the space. “Whether it’s wallpaper samples, paint colors, or furniture options, showing them ones you like and that you would be fine with either way and letting them pick, is a great way for them to feel engaged,” she says.
Below, you’ll find Cho’s best tips and tricks for creating an environment that fosters creativity, individuality, and sets kids up for success. Since we know your back-to-school list is piling up already, we made it easy to shop the products featured. Simply click on the images and you’ll be directed to purchase the item.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
By Tamara Kraus
A+ Kids Workspace Ideas
By Design Expert Joy Cho That Will Make Homework (Almost) Joyful!
“No. I wish I could have said yes! I wish I was like, a mom with one of those boards that they filled in... I'm not. Sometimes I'm working on their first day of school and I just feel guilty. Sometimes the kids don't want to pose for the picture. But I do try to take the kids for a treat after their first day of school; I do try to always be there at the end of the school day for their first day."
“This is what made me excited to go back to school, [and] I’ve continued these rituals and traditions with my kids. We would always go school shopping — we would get new school clothes. We would get new school supplies, from backpacks to lunch boxes to markers to folders. It felt great. It really felt like a renewal. My mom always taught me the importance of, when you look great, you feel great. So I do that with Cree. It’s great that he’s now older and he can show me what he likes. He’ll pick things out with me. We have fun with it, because it gets them excited about going back to school and it gets them excited about learning.”
“We usually have a really fun breakfast, something that would normally be a weekend thing—like chocolate croissants. I do the Trader Joe’s frozen ones that you defrost the night before, and then you bake them that morning—they’re the best.”
- Joy Cho
By Chloe Castleberry
Clothing That'll Make Girls
Feel Confident for a Momentous Return
Click to Play
Tia Mowry-Hardrict’s 3 Favorite School-Week Recipes From
The Quick Fix Kitchen
By Brianne Hogan
How to Get Your Kids Mentally & Emotionally Ready to Go Back to School
Back to Top
By Kweli Wright
Fun School Supplies
That Make Back-to-School Exciting
By Alicia Kort
13 Fun, Unique Lunch
Boxes Kids Will Want
to Show Off
By alicia Kort
Under $50 Backpacks That Will Help Your Kid Stand Out From the Crowd
By Kweli Wright
The Best Back-to-School Books for Kids Any Age
By Tamara Kraus
The Best Face Masks for Kids
By Reshma Gopaldas
A lack of socialization during the pandemic has taken a toll on kids’ confidence and mental wellness. Here’s what you can do to ease the transition.
Excerpted from THE QUICK FIX KITCHEN copyright © 2021 by Tia Mowry-Hardict. Used by permission of Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Photos By Matt Armendariz
Tia Mowry -Hardrict
PHOTOGRAPHER: Felisha Tolentino
HAIR: Davontae Washington
MAKEUP: Anton Khachaturian
STYLIST: Judy Len
PHOTOGRAPHER: Bethany Nauert
Joy Cho Workspace
Photographer: by Lily Glass
Concept/Production/Styling: by Julia Wester Production Assistance: by Jess Hong
The Quick Fix Kitchen Recipe's
Photographer: Matt Armendariz