We’ve all seen the commercial where the dad is running around singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” right? That’s me every August for the past three years, and honestly, at this point, I’m not even ashamed of it. I love my kid, really I do, but after two continuous months together we’re pretty sick of each other.
Getting back into the swing of things is never as easy as we’d like it to be. While I don’t think that will ever change, every year we find a few new ideas to help control the crazy.
School supply lists
If your school does supply lists it can be daunting to read. It often reads like a celebrity rider. There are sales, lots of them, shop around if you can if you space it out over time, and it won’t be such a hit to the wallet. Spend the money on a good backpack and lunch box; in the long run, it will save you money because you won’t be replacing them every year. Look for companies that offer good warranties or replacement rules. The tissues and cleaning wipes on those lists, while it may seem silly at first, they can be just, if not more important as pencils, especially during the winter months. Send some in September but please, don’t forget the teachers’ needs after the first days. Send some supplies in during the winter months when the noses get gross, chances are they’ll need them.
Back to school clothes
Last year, the temperature on the first day of school was somewhere in the mid-80s; needless to say, that fancy new outfit that had pants didn’t make an appearance for at least another month. If your kids are anything like mine the moment you buy them new clothes they have a growth spurt. It’s one of those silly laws of parenting. We’ve now started buying a few new things for the first few weeks of school but saving the ‘fall shopping’ for late September/early October when the weather is turning. Sometimes the sales have already begun to make way for winter. Will this work for the hot ticket clothing item? No, but for the basic item,s it will save some frustration and you can avoid the mall during those fun ‘back to school’ sales.
Rule number one of survival in our house is packing your snack and lunch the night before. I am a morning person. My daughter is not. This hasn’t changed in 9 years (high school is going to be SO fun). We have two snack boxes; one dry for pre-packed apple sauce, cereal bars, treat snacks, any other single serve snacks that can be grabbed on the run, and one in the refrigerator for cheese sticks, yogurt, and cut up and bagged fruit. Stocking these make prep time go as smoothly as it can be, one healthy snack, one fun snack, done.
Technology is great, but sometimes the little humans of the house need a nice visual to see what’s coming up. Our entire schedule is entered into my phone, color codes and all; but writing out a hard copy can save a lot of potential missed or overlooked activities. Giant desk calendars are awesome when you have multiple kids and multiple activities. Everyone gets a color and it can be easily placed in a central location. This also makes it easy to decide when to space out their weekly chores when they’re able to see what days are free.
Lastly, as silly as it sounds: it really does take a village. Carpool, carpool, carpool. I cannot stress this enough. Grouping up for the after-school shuffle can be a game changer. It will give you and another hard-working parent the chance to make dinner or get a sibling ready for bed without having to run out to grab a kid at what is always the worst possible time. I always laughed at the whole “find your tribe” mentality but seriously, my tribe has third-row seating and extra car seats, and they’re my lifelines.