Once again, the freedom.. I mean the school bells are ringing and although we will soon find a few more hours at home sans chaos, the school year seems to come with it’s own set of complications. Whether you are an all hands on deck parent, who completes the science fair project for their kid, or more like myself, whose mantra is, “I already went to school and graduated so you do the work,” things can easily spiral out of control if you don’t plan ahead. Here are some of the things I have been working on or plan to.
Have Somewhere to Put Paperwork
This could be as simple as a folder, the only trick is making sure what needs to be there gets put there. I had both of these boards already and simply re-purposed them. I put my youngest’s out of her reach to make sure she didn’t steal and hoard precious permission slips and reminders.
Have Small Bills
It is inevitable. Your kids are going to come home with requests for money all year. Other than the huge hit in your pocket from the involuntary ‘”voluntary” PTA donations, where you could be on the Platnum level for a mere $50, your kid will have many requests for smaller amounts. The Weekly Reader, the field trip, the in classroom trip, the school production, the teachers gift and the class parent gift are a few examples. Be ready or you could be scraping change together from the bottom of your purse or ransacking their piggy banks.
Have a Mock Lunch
If your kid is older, they know the drill. But for younger kids, making sure you pack a lunch they can reasonably and safely eat in the short amount of time they have for lunch is a good idea. It will also give you a chance to see if they can open all of the food containers with out needing help, so you don’t hear your ears ringing every time the lunch monitor needs to stop and open it for them.
Start Getting Up a Little Earlier Each Day and Going to Bed Earlier
You have probably experienced the bedtime creep where you knew you were going to slack on bedtime, you just did not realize how much. Now your kids are used to sleeping late and are not tired around the normal bedtime hour. Good luck getting them to actually sleep the night before school and dragging them out of bed on time if you simply go cold turkey. If you want to avoid this battle, figure out how much earlier they need to go to bed during the school year and how many days you have before that date, then slowly move bed time and wake time a little earlier each night.
Make Outfits Ahead of Time
This is one of my sanity savers. Have children that refuse to pick an outfit, or just one that you can both live with? Instead of being late, or letting them wear snow boots, summer shorts and their Wonder Woman costume shirt, pick out acceptable outfits ahead of time. Make sure they play a role in making these outfits so they feel like they had a choice in the matter. Then, lay out 2 when its time to get dressed and have your child grab one and go. I include socks or stockings and underwear to really make it easy.
Decide a Few Easy Lunches Ahead of Time
Long gone are the days of peanut butter and jelly and milk money. They have been replaced by the peanut allergy, letter sending home over a cookie lunch-aids, throwing away a whole banana because your friend gave you their cookie because their mom did not care about judgement- days. I will post a few of my go-to lunches but right now I can suggest lunch meat and cheese rolled in tortillas, home-made Lunchables or tortellini either cold or in a soup thermos.
Have a Plan for Artwork
The younger the child, the more important this is. Even if you plan to throw it out, you still have to plan, unless of course that kid-safe garbage can cover still keeps your kids out of it. In my house, art work goes up, away or straight out to the curb, on garbage night. Little children do not get the idea of balance or minimalism. For my art showcase needs, I simply strung rope back and fourth between three nails and hung some clothes pins. This is right in my front hallway, so on garbage night, I have fast, easy access to the garbage bins at the curb.
Get Your Child Ready to Break the Ice
Whether it is the first year, last year or any year in between, your child is bound to come across new potential friends. Do not let them miss out on an opportunity to find a life long buddy because they do not know what to say. I met one of my best friends by simply seeing her alone and asking her to join me and my friends to the bathroom. That was the hangout spot for freshening up your make-up and talking without teachers overhearing. We are still friends today.
Practice Getting There
Is your child taking the bus for the first time? Are they walking again? This tip is more important for the child taking a new bus or a new route but may be good for everyone to consider. My oldest daughter takes public transportation to school. We did a round trip prior to her first day to make sure that she was comfortable and would not get lost. But if your child is taking the yellow bus you may want to walk to the stop to see how long it takes to get there or drive to the school and show them the door they enter.
Reintroduce Work If You Let Them Slip Into the Summer Slide
Ask any teacher and they will tell you that they immediately know who read or did any type of work over the summer. They may not go on to admit that their favorites for the year usually end up being the kids who did work over the summer. Regardless of this, your child is going to have trouble learning new material if they are too busy relearning what they already mastered last year.
Do you think think I missed anything important? Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments.