Whelp guys, we blinked and now summer is ending. I am not sure what happens faster—me losing my patience with my children or summer break. However, I know that school is just around the corner. Maybe you are ready to send your sweet, little innocent children back to school before you literally lose your mind. Or possibly you have thoroughly enjoyed all the summer laughs and memories; either way, it is all ending.
During this season, I have higher anxiety. I think my brain is preparing for the uphill battle that is getting back into the swing of school. Maybe my anxiety is so high because I know that inevitably there will be overly tired meltdowns during the first week of school. Or perhaps it is because I may need to take out a loan just to afford school supplies and new clothes for my quickly growing children.
I am about a decade into this mothering thing, and I still have no idea what I am doing. But I thought I could share a few things that may be helpful for us busy moms to prepare for the new school year.
- First things first, prep work. You may ask yourself, what does that even mean? Well, basically it means anything and everything that can be done the night before school… do it. I wanted more than anything to have those wonderful movie-type breakfast moments with my children in the morning. You know, the kind where we all sit down to a hot meal in the morning with freshly squeezed orange juice? I was only fooling myself with that dream. So, I have learned the importance of prep work. This means that directly after the dinner dishes are done during the school year, I pack lunch for the next day. Sometimes I get super fancy and I pack all lunches for the upcoming week on Sunday. But realistically, that just isn’t something I can invest that much time into. I suggest finding a rhythm that works for you and roll with it. Keep it simple and always do it the night before.
Prep work makes my life a thousand times better. I’ve even included my children in on the fun because I am so tired of handling all the chores. Many times, they pick out their clothes and breakfast the night before. Sometimes (depending on the homework) they may even pack their own lunch. Trust me when I say prep work is a lifesaver.
2. Routine is essential. We strive off of a routine. During the summer, we let things slide. Bedtimes are a little later. Screen time is often extended. Sometimes we don’t take a bath every night (Gasp, what kind of mother am I?) When school is in session, we tighten up that routine and attempt to stick to it as closely as possible. My children are early risers, so that means all throughout the summer when we let them stay up late… they still wake up with the sun. They also get crabby when they are tired. We try to go to bed about an hour earlier than our typical summer routine. Typically, I try to start the school-type routine about two weeks before they start school. Since our children are home with my husband throughout the summer, I also have him hit the summer schoolwork a little harder during the early part of the day for those last two weeks. I think this helps to get those brains working. We are not drill sergeants. They still get to swim in the pool in the afternoon and go to the park.
Routine makes all the difference with children, and this is essential when preparing for back to school
3. Talk about it. If your children are anything like me and my children; we worry about transitions. Gong from spending the summer with friends or family to heading back into a classroom five days a week can be daunting. Also, this school year may look different for your little one. Some children are transitioning from elementary to high school, private school to public school, or maybe just to a new classroom at the other end of the school. No matter what the situation may be, it is important to talk to your kiddo about it all. Ask what they are most excited about and share some things you enjoyed about school. Ask what things they may be nervous about.
Remember, they are children with a quickly developing brain. This means sometimes they don’t quite understand their feelings. However, they may recognize the feelings are new and sometimes weird. Just talk it out.
4. Kindness counts. It is a great idea to take time with your children to read about kindness. Take a trip to the wonderful Danville library and pick up some books about kindness and making friends. With a new school year comes the possibility of new friends. Reading about showing kindness and making friends is a great way to help your child succeed socially. Making and keeping friends as a grown human being is hard. I cannot even imagine how hard it must be for our children. I suggest reading about showing kindness to all those around us, even the kids who don’t look and act like your child. Share about the importance of kindness towards their peers, towards their teachers, and towards themselves. Set them up for success socially by talking through those jitters and reading about kindness.
5. Treat yourself. Now that you have purchased the 17,000 school supplies, you have coordinated the perfect first day of school outfit, and made those Pinterest-worthy bento box style lunches….go treat yourself!
If you are a working mom, this means scheduling the morning off or planning to go in late. Drive yourself to your favorite coffee spot and sip that coffee. If you are a stay-at-home mom, go get your favorite coffee and go home and take a nap. Forget the laundry, go sleep! Heck, go get a massage or your toes painted. All I am saying is that you did it. You got them to school safely and looking halfway human. This means you deserve a treat. So treat yourself. No, but seriously, if you are anything like me, I always put my kids first. I also put way too much pressure on myself. Learning to give myself an extra measure of grace when entering a new season, like back to school, is essential. I am always willing to give my children extra cuddles and extra forgiveness when they are nervous about a new routine, yet I put more pressure on myself and barely give myself a break. So, I try to take at least a little time during the first week of school and I treat myself.
Sometimes I treat myself with an extra iced coffee, other times I get off work early and just walk around a store with no responsibilities. Either way, I learn that no matter what I do; I need to give myself a little grace during this chaotic life of raising children and you should too! Treat yourself, mama. You deserve it! While this is not a comprehensive list of strategies to make life easier during the back-to-school season, I hope this was at least a little helpful to all my busy mom/parent friends. Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/pickledproverbs for more sweet and sour moments in motherhood.