This article, entitled Back to School Survival comes from Erin Ferris at http://amidwesterngirlincowboycountry.blogspot.com
Back to school “season” is stressful. There are clothes, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, and school supplies to purchase; orientations and meet-the-teacher nights to attend; after-school sports, clubs, and activities to register for; sports physicals, vaccinations, and dentist appointments to take care of; and new schedules to implement. Just thinking about such a monstrous list is enough to drive any parent to the brink of crazy.
My five-year-old son, Will, starts kindergarten at the end of August. This milestone is already so simultaneously exciting and stressful and scary that I’m simply not willing to let the responsibilities associated with heading back to school diminish my excitement, overwhelm me, or paralyze me with fear. My goal is to celebrate these last few weeks of summer – and enjoy the process of preparing Will for this next stage in life – and in order to achieve this goal I need focus on what’s really important.
There are plenty of “comprehensive” (read: complicated, time-consuming, and expensive) back-to-school checklists out there, but these lists – despite the fact that I’m usually an obsessive and extensive list-maker – aren’t for me. Instead I’m going with a simple, five-step plan, in hopes that even just bits and pieces of it will help me prepare for and ease into this season with my sanity still intact. I hope it does the same for you!
While you can still find unaccounted-for hours on your calendar, take the kids swimming, to the children’s museum, to the movies, and miniature golfing. Set up play dates with friends who won’t attend the same school as your kids in the fall. Stay up late and sleep in. Watch movies, play games, and unless absolutely necessary, officially declare your home a no “school work” zone. My kids and I are looking forward to crossing a few more activities and art projects off our summer bucket list.
I like to schedule our appointments on in-service or conference days, or during fall break, when the kids are out of school but businesses and offices are still open.
School supplies, yes. Backpack and lunchbox, maybe. School clothes and shoes, heck no. It’ll be 80+ degrees outside (or 100+ degrees, if you live anywhere near me) for the first two months of the school year, so unless the sales are amazing and you actually have time to shop, wait to stock up on jeans and sweatshirts until the weather turns. I prefer this tactic not only because it shortens my to-do list, but also because there’s a decent chance anything I buy for my kids now won’t fit them when fall finally rolls around anyway. (Inevitably, if I buy up a size the kids won’t grow and the clothes will be too big, and if I buy the size the kids wear now they’ll have a growth spurt and the clothes will be too small.)
“Ooh” and “ahh” over the cute and clever first day of school Pins, feel inadequate and overwhelmed, get over feeling inadequate and overwhelmed, and finally, decide on ONE way to commemorate and/or celebrate your child’s first day of school. If you’re anything like me, your “Kids” Board on Pinterest hosts more than 50 Pins having to do with the first day of school: school-themed breakfast and lunch foods, decorations, photo poses, outfits, teacher gifts. I plan to narrow down the Pins, narrow down the Pins again, and finally come to land on a simple but meaningful meal, decoration, or photo opportunity that I can replicate year after year.
a. Take the kids grocery shopping and let them pick out the fruits, vegetables, snacks they’d like in their lunch boxes.
b. Help kids choose their first day outfits, shoes, and hair accessories.
c. Ease your way into earlier bedtimes and rising with an alarm clock.
d. Practice walking or biking to school.
e. Talk to your kids. About what to expect and how they’re feeling. About who to go to for help and with questions. About how, even though you’ll miss them while they’re at school, you’re so excited for them.
At the end of day, focus on the positive, give lots of hugs, and say “I love you” a few extra times. Because summers are short, and childhood is even shorter.