The countdown for back-to-school is on! For my boys, the countdown comes with a groan. They just aren’t ready for summer to end yet. Between one of our boys having a broken toe and oral surgery, summer has been a challenge this year. So for me, I’m affectionately looking forward for school to be back in session.
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On the other hand, every year seems to follow the same pattern… about 2-3 weeks before school starts, I start getting emotional. As much as my sanity is stretched over the summer, I really do enjoy spending time with my kids. And as another summer passes and I realize that it’s one less summer I’ll get with my growing boys, I find myself going into sappy, freak out mom mode.
Have the boys had a memorable summer?
Did I spend enough quality time with them?
Will they head back to school with their love tanks filled and satisfied?
Do they have everything they need for back to school?
Just as us moms can get emotional about school starting back up, our kids can get emotional about it too. From separation anxiety to learning anxiety to just-not-being-ready-for-the-summer-fun-to-end disappointment, going back to school can provoke some intense moments and feelings.
Proper prepping for back-to-school is crucial to ending summer well and successfully moving forward into another school year. It means making sure both emotional and physical needs are met before the school year starts.
What Kids REALLY Need for Back-to-School
THE SUMMER BUCKET LIST COMPLETED
Summer isn’t over yet so if your summer bucket list has some unchecked items, this is the time to do it. Jam pack your remaining days of summer with whatever hasn’t been crossed off the list yet. Even the little things on the list are big to your kids. So if the activity was important enough to your child to make the list, do the activity!
Having a completed bucket list ensures time together. It shows your child that you’re interested in what they’re interested in and that you want to spend time doing activities together.
BEDTIME ROUTINES REINSTATED
Baseball games and summer adventures and sibling sleepovers in the playroom and nights with neighbors around the campfire. I’m a sucker for fun and late summer bedtimes. But… if you want school morning routines to run smoothly (and your child’s teacher to like you), you’ll want to get a jump on back-to-school bedtimes.
The best way to do this, begin the “BS Bedtime Mission” about two weeks out from school starting. (BS meaning Back-to-School, but it is a big stinky task so call it as you will.) Turn back bedtime by 15 minutes every other day until you’ve reached your child’s school year bed time.
OPERATION “GET OUT THE DOOR” REINSTATED
All this reinstatement makes me sound like a drill sergeant. And
some a lot of days, I feel like one. I’ve decided that one of the hardest tasks as a mom might be those dreaded “Get Out the Door” moments. It’s taken several years, but I feel like our morning “Get Out the Door” routine is pretty good. In case you didn’t catch it though, I said it’s taken years.
Here’s how it’s done…
Once your child has adjusted to going to bed at the school year bed time, begin tweaking mornings. My boys rarely sleep in much past their school year wake up time of 7:00. However, if your child isn’t a morning person, you’ll want to start waking him/her up 15 minutes earlier every other day until they’ve reached their school year wake up time.
Then, start going through the motions of a school day morning. What needs to be done to get everyone out the door on time? Practice, practice, practice so that when the first day of school arrives, your child has no surprises.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL SIGNAGE
There’s just something so precious about the first day of school pictures. The excitement in your child’s eyes, the proud smile knowing they are going into a “bigger grade” of school… these pictures are too darling to skip over or hurry through. So make your child’s day even more special with a 1st Day of School sign.
Word to the wise… don’t wait until you’re trying to get the kids out the door to write out a first day of school sign. Been there, done that. It doesn’t go well. So jump on Pinterest and find a design-loving weirdo like me who enjoys making signs and has freebie printables. Print the sign. Put it by the backpack and enjoy the moment with your child on the first day of school.
All kids want to look good on their first day back to school. For many, looking good means feeling good. But as a parent with a budget and kids whose growth has yet to slow, we have to balance style with cost. Our family’s typical back-to-school shopping includes at least one marathon day of hitting the outlet mall. We cram clothes shopping and shoe shopping into the same day and walk laps around the facility until one of us has a t00-much-shopping meltdown. (Confession: sometimes it is mom that loses it first!)
But this year, I’m going to try something different. It’s called… SIMPLIFYING.
I’m going to make my life easier and back-to-school shopping less painful with these few simple tricks:
- Take an inventory. I’ve already had the boys start trying on clothes that haven’t been worn in awhile and may be too small for them. This way I’ll know exactly what we need to shop for. And, it’ll be better on the budget too.
- Look for deals. The reason we head to a Premium Outlet Mall is that we can pick up Nike shoes at the Nike Store for a fraction of their regular cost. Likewise, the name brand outlet stores have the same quality items as a non-outlet store, but for less money. However, a couple weeks ago, as I pulled into the parking lot of a sporting goods store where I stopped for a quick order pickup, I noticed they were having a huge tent sale. Two of my boys found really cool tennis shoes there. Not only did we get a tremendous deal on them, but we also saved ourselves some time on what is normally a marathon shopping day.
- Shop online. Although about 75% of my Christmas shopping is done online, I don’t usually shop online for back-to-school. This year, that will change. Shopping online, lounging in my pajamas with a glass of wine sounds so much better than dragging my 3 boys store to store trying on clothes.
What’s more, not only am I going to shop online, but I’m also going to have my boys shop online. My husband and I recently allowed them to shop Amazon with birthday money they had saved up. And I was extremely impressed! The boys price compared, checked customer star ratings, and found some really cool stuff (like an off road rechargable RC tumbling stunt car)!
Seeing how well their first go of online shopping went, I’m will to give it a go again. Of course there will be shopping guidelines with a list of items needed, a budget to stay within, and mom’s final approval. But it’ll keep them entertained and give them some independence in shopping for what they think is cool.
(BTW… I’ll be directing my boys to one of my favorite places to shop online, Jane. An online marketplace for multiple retailers and boutiques, they have unique and trendy items at a great price. Now through August 13th is Jane’s Back-to-School event with great deals and cool stuff your kids will love! I may be sneaking in a few purchases for me into the shopping cart too! wink wink)
Starting a new grade or a new school can be intimidating. Will I like my teacher? Will any of my friends be in my class? For some it’s an exciting nervousness. For others its just plain scary. But no matter how your child feels about heading back to school, all kids could use an extra boost of confidence that they are gonna crush this new school year.
Interview your kids. Go for a walk or out for ice cream and just chat. Ask what they are most excited about. Have they talked to their new teacher before? Is he/she nice? Ask your child if they have any concerns. Let your child openly express their emotions.
And then, being the good momma you are, build up and encourage your sweet child. Diffuse those fears. Replace any doubt and anxiety with confidence-building truth. Teach them to do daily affirmations and to speak truth and confidence and worth into themselves.
Then keep the good vibes going throughout the school year with little love notes of encouragement. I love sneaking a little lunchbox love note into my boys’ lunchboxes to bring a little smile and “mom hug” to their school day.
FULL LOVE TANK
Summer break isn’t just about giving the kids a learning break. It isn’t just a reprieve for teachers to recoup some sanity. It’s about families spending time together, making memories, learning life lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. It’s about strengthening relationships and getting in precious time as a family that a busy school routine may push to the side. It’s about filling your child’s love tank and getting extra time to nurture this amazing individual, to hold their hand and watch them grow, to lovingly guide them along the path of life. This, my friend, is the best part of summer and what your child needs most before going back to school.
Moms, don’t be too excited about shipping your babies off to school this fall. Even though the “mom, I’m bored” and the sibling rivalry squabbles over the summer may have given you some grey hair, remember to enjoy this time with your children so that when it is back-to-school time, they are fully equipped to face another school year.