Raking leaves, playing sports, or planning for holidays, this to-do list will help your family prepare for fall without the stress.
Back to School, falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and cozy sweaters.
Autumn is a time of many changes, and families often need to change with the season. Rather than guessing at the things you need to prepare for fall, this comprehensive list will help your family get in the fall spirit without the stress.
Let’s pumpkin spice things up!
1. Outdoor Cleanup
The seasonal change of fall is usually marked by a change in weather. Leaves start changing colors and falling, the temperature starts cooling, and storms start rolling in. Before your yard is wet or covered in snow, you should prepare it for the end-of-year weather. And fall is the best time to do it.
- Yard Maintenance: Start by cleaning up your yard. Remove any dead plants, weeds, and debris. Trim bushes and trees if necessary.
- Gutters and Downspouts: Clear out gutters and downspouts to prevent clogs during fall rains.
- Outdoor Furniture: Clean and store or cover outdoor furniture to protect it from the elements.
- Window Inspection: Check windows and doors for drafts, and seal any gaps to keep your home warm and energy-efficient.
2. Fall Home Decorations
The fall holidays are some of the best in the year! Your kids will love trick or treating, eating huge meals, and spending time with loved ones. Whatever holidays your family celebrates during the fall season, decorating for them will only make it better. Start planning your decorations now, so that your whole family can get involved.
- Get creative and decorate your home for fall with items like pumpkins, wreaths, and seasonal flowers. Even better if you make the decorations with your family!
- Involve the whole family in decorating, and make it a fun activity. Play music, have dance parties, and gorge on fall-themed snacks.
We’ve already prepared our yards for fall, but did you know that fall is also an excellent time to garden? With multitudes of benefits aside from the cooler weather, this is the time to start thinking about what plants you want for spring.
- Plant fall flowers and vegetables. Fall is an excellent time for planting bulbs like tulips and daffodils.
- Involve kids in gardening tasks to teach them about nature and responsibility.
4. Clothing and Gear
Before the weather gets too cold, it’s time to think about bringing out our warmer clothing to prepare for fall. If kids have outgrown their stuff from last year (as they are wont to do), we need the extra time to make sure that they have clothes and sports gear that actually fit.
- Start going through your family’s fall clothing. Donate or store summer clothes and bring out warmer attire.
- Make sure everyone has appropriate outerwear for cooler weather.
- Sort out any outdoor gear if your family is into fall/winter sports like soccer, hockey, snowboarding, etc.
5. Home Safety and Maintenance
Fall weather tends to chase everyone indoors. Because of that, we need to start thinking about how to prepare our houses for fall. We need to make sure our homes are environments that we want to be in and that our families will be safe in. (We’ll be spending a lot of time there, after all.)
- Check and replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Prepare an emergency kit for potential fall storms or power outages.
- Replace your HVAC filters and check your heating system. Or schedule a professional inspection and maintenance for your heating system to ensure it’s working efficiently.
6. Fall Activities and Traditions
Is your family going to a pumpkin patch or jumping in a pile of leaves? There are so many fun things to do during this season. You can make fall the best holiday ever by planning fun activities and traditions that your kids will want to pass on to their own families.
- Plan fall-themed family activities, such as apple picking, pumpkin carving, or hiking in the colorful foliage.
- Discuss and set up family traditions for fall, like having a movie night with autumn-themed films.
- Prepare costumes if your family is going trick or treating or to a costume party.
7. Health and Wellness
Kids have gone back to school, which means it’s time for the flu to come home. Prepare for the fall sniffles before they happen, and keep your family healthy this season.
- Schedule regular health check-ups and appointments for family members, especially if they haven’t had one recently.
- Encourage family members to get flu shots and ensure everyone’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle with nutritious meals, regular exercise, and adequate sleep to boost immunity during the fall season.
- Stock up on foods and vitamins that boost your immune systems to prevent seasonal illnesses.
- Discuss the importance of good hygiene and handwashing to prevent the spread of illnesses.
8. Meal Planning
The fruits and vegetables of summer are going out of style, and fall foods are in. This is the perfect time to spice up your meal calendar so you and your family don’t get tired of the same old foods. There are plenty of recipes out there that can fit in your busy schedule. And don’t be afraid to try fun, fall-themed recipes. If you get the whole family involved, the taste of fall will be unforgettable.
- Adjust your meal planning to include more fall-inspired recipes, such as soups, stews, and baked goods.
- Get the family involved in cooking and baking to give your kids a fun activity and create family traditions.
9. School and Learning
Whether school has already started or is just starting, learning is an ongoing process. Between homework, projects, school activities, and holidays, your kids will be busy all season. Check in on your kids to make sure that they’re getting accustomed to the new school year and are ready to enjoy fall.
- Ensure your children are prepared for their classes. Use this time to check in with them and manage any potential challenges.
- Establish a homework routine and help your kids navigate their at-home learning.
- Create a designated study or learning space at home for children to complete homework and engage in educational activities.
10. Financial Planning
The holiday season is a time for big expenses: food, travel, gifts, activities, decorations, and so much more. If you start planning for all of these expenses early, you’ll be able to enjoy the season without stress or worries.
- Review your family’s budget and plan for any upcoming expenses, such as holiday gifts, travel, seasonal sports and activities, and big gatherings.
- Start saving for end-of-year expenses.
11. Holiday Planning
Although the big holidays are a ways off, they’ll be here faster than you think. And there’s a lot to consider when planning them. Who’s hosting the gathering? Do you have to bring any gifts? What meals are you cooking? Do you need to buy the kids a new outfit? Do you have to plan for family pictures or a holiday card? Now is the time to start planning for all of this.
- If your family celebrates holidays in the fall, start planning for them early. This includes menu planning, gift shopping, and decorating.
- Schedule any travel and make reservations for hotels or rentals ahead of time. (This could save you money.)
12. Charity and Giving
Many fall holidays are centered around gratitude. This is the perfect time to teach kids about giving to others and being thankful.
- Get involved in charity events or volunteer as a family.
- Plan activities, make crafts, or read a good book to help your kids understand and practice gratitude.
13. Emergency Preparedness
Fall can bring unpredictable weather, including storms, heavy rains, and potential power outages. We’ve already covered home safety for seasonal changes, but it’s also important for families to be prepared for these emergencies. If you live in a region prone to crazy weather, or even if you just want to be prepared for anything, then you might want to consider putting together a 72-hour kit this season.
- Create a family emergency plan that includes contact information, meeting places, and evacuation routes.
- Assemble an emergency kit with essential supplies like non-perishable food, water, flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, blankets, and a battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
- Teach family members about emergency procedures and what to do in case of severe weather or other emergencies.
14. Personal Growth
Fall often signifies the start of the school year, making it an excellent time to promote learning and personal development within the family. For the kids busy at school and parents busy at work, additional learning at home—the fun, low-pressure kind—will be a great stress relief. And it will be more time to spend with your family and love each other, which is the best way to prepare for fall.
- Establish a daily or weekly reading routine for family members of all ages. Encourage everyone to explore new books and genres.
- Consider enrolling family members in extracurricular activities or classes that align with their interests and hobbies.
- Take advantage of fall’s indoor weather by organizing family workshops or skill-building sessions, such as cooking, art, or coding.
- Discuss goals and aspirations for the coming months, setting both short-term and long-term objectives for personal growth and development.
- Use fall as an opportunity to explore cultural and educational events in your community, such as museum exhibits, lectures, or workshops.
- Encourage open discussions and curiosity within the family, fostering a love for learning and personal growth.
Need more fall? Check out these autumn-themed books.
Shaelyn Topolovec earned a BA in editing and publishing from BYU, worked on several online publications, and joined the Familius family. Shae is currently an editor and copywriter who lives in California’s Central Valley.