For most of us, back-to-school is bittersweet. We may end up with more free time during the day, but our babies are one year older. Sadly, so are we, the gray hair seems to be creeping in around our temples, new wrinkles show up out of nowhere. The constant summer entertainment of family vacations, sports camps, trips to the beach with sunscreen and snacks, making s’mores by firelight, packing camping equipment, covering our loved ones in bug spray, sleeping in tents, and cooking tin-foil meals, will soon come to a close. Now, we must rearrange our lives around the new 5-days a week school schedule.
Our little ones will always hold our heart, but no longer do we hold their hands as they walk up those stone steps and into their life of learning. For children, school is a right of passage, a way to stand on their own, create their unique path through life. What we do now… is watch from the sidelines as they become something more, changing in ways we may not expect. Some of those changes will be good, others, not so great, although that’s all a part of the ups and downs of parenthood. But in the end, all rewarding in their own way.
As the hot days pass us by, and the Fall season sashays back into our lives with those beautiful yellow and orange landscapes. The crisp smell that drifts along with the breeze, the fresh berries that slowly disappear from the supermarket shelves, pumpkins, yams, potatoes and other yummy fall veggies quickly taking their place. We (the adults) need to be ready for those changes.
So you must ask yourself: Am I ready for the school year to begin?
Here are a few tips that can help you get those kiddies back to school more efficiently.
Create a grocery list
If you pack their lunch, it’s good to know what items you may need. If you have more time to collect your thoughts on what to put in those bags, you will make better choices for those meals. More variety means a less boring lunch for the kids.
Budget how much you will allow for off-campus meals
Food continues to go up in price, and if your teen wants to eat off-campus, they will need to learn to feast within YOUR budget, not theirs. It is also a good life lesson for teens to acquire before they step onto the college arena.
Put your kids back on a school sleeping schedule
Those late summer nights will have to start winding down a few weeks before the school year begins. Especially, the younger ones. By setting a good sleep-schedule for your kids is healthier in the long run. Children in elementary school need a good 8 hours or more of sleep.
Get a list of teachers (teacher) emails
If you send the new teacher an email early, it opens the door for better communication. It will aid you and the teacher if a problem arises or if your child needs help with a certain subject or assignment.
Do all the laundry
By catching up on your laundry, it will help you figure out where your kid’s wardrobe may need filling. Get rid of those socks and underwear with holes or tears and repair any items that require attention like lost buttons, zippers on jeans and laces for those shoes.
Get a list of school supplies
Most schools will have a supplies list online that you can print. It’s best to know what those items are before hand, so you don’t over buy. School supplies can be expensive so if you have grandparents who are willing to lend a hand in that department, give that list to them and let them help with those expenses.
Shop for those school clothes
Every year I have gone school shopping, I have found that the two weeks before the school year starts, you find the best prices on back-to-school clothing. With all the extra inventory, the stores need to unload the excess stock by offering great discounts on their clothing. But that only works for non-specific items. If your child needs specific things, get those early while there are still plenty to choose from.
Get to know the other parents in your child’s class
If you can have a potluck meal or a meet and greet with some of the other parents, you will forge friendships that can help with sporting events, carpool traffic and those oh-crap-I-can’t-get-there-in-time accidents that will arise on occasion. It creates a better environment for your child and gives you peace of mind by not having every single responsibility fall upon your shoulders.
Download a copy of the school year schedule
This is an excellent way to educate yourself on what’s happening throughout the year. You’ll know when every sporting event, band concert, choir musical, theater show will take place and where, when the parent teachers conferences will be held, and what days your kids will be home. By staying informed, you will have fewer surprises, which means less stress. YAH!
So go clean out those moldy lunch boxes from May, and get ready for the back-to-school craze to begin. Fall of 2017 will be the best year yet!!!