Back to School Strategy

September 10, 2012

Hopefully you’ve already gotten your kids’ school supplies because I was at Target today to get what I needed for the second list from my son’s class, and those shelves were picked clean. Crazy.

And was your week as hectic as mine? I went back to work mid-week after a longer-than-usual vacation, I started teaching a college class that same night, I had no nanny that day to watch my kids (she had to take the day off), and my kids started school the next day, my daughter kindergarten…so it was kinda nutty. Which got me thinking that my tips I use for getting through the crazy times might help you out as well:

Lists are essential. Seriously, or else I always forget something. I used to do them all on paper, but now with the iphone I’ve got lists up the wazoo: for Target, for the supermarket, my to-do list, etc. And it feels oh so good to cross something off.

Take out clothes the night before. My daughter is incredibly particular about what she wears, and the mornings are far too jam packed to have an argument about it, so we go into her closet every night and decide what she’s going to wear the next day, down to her socks. Then we lay it out on the table, and she is ready to go the next morning. Frankly, on a day that I am really crunched in the morning and may even have to get to work early, I take out my clothes as well. You’d be amazed how much time you save when you’re not standing in front of your closet, lamenting about how you have nothing to wear. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

Go through their school folder at night. I want no surprises in the morning — there’s already too much to deal with. So I fill out any forms or get any money I have to send in together the night before, put everything into their folders and backpacks and then rest easy. And if there’s anything really major due that week — a project, supplies that need to get sent in, whatever, I do it over the weekend before. By Sunday night, I get it all together, even if its not due til, say, Wednesday. Something will inevitably come up during the week, but I try to control as much as I can so I don’t feel so pressured with time.

Establish 4 – 5 lunch menus. You want variety, but you also don’t want too much choice. If you’ve got 4 – 5 things in your repertoire, that should keep them interested and eating. Peanut butter and banana or avocado and cheese are healthy sandwiches that don’t feel run of the mill. Trader Joe’s dumplings are always a hit. Cottage cheese and fruit can be good. And never underestimate the power of leftovers — pasta is a particular favorite in our house. Rotate fruits, add in some carrot sticks and then a surprise snack to keep ’em guessing and you’ll be good to go. I’m a big fan of reusable containers instead of the bottomless pit of Ziploc bags that packed lunch can become. And once in a while, it’s ok to take the day off and let them get school lunch. Many schools are leading the way in ensuring there are healthy offerings, so you don’t have to feel too guilty about it.

Sometimes, if it can be put off, put it off. Know your limits — and if you’re feeling particularly tired, ill or whatever, limit your to do list to what is absolutely essential in that moment. If you can do it tomorrow, do it then. The school sent home a mountain of paperwork on Thursday. I had a massive headache. My normal instinct would be to do it all that night and get it back asap. But I just couldn’t; I had to go to sleep. So I did it over the weekend and it will go back on Monday. And it’s fine.

Make an easy to read schedule and put it on the wall. Every day after school is another activity in another place, for each of my children. I created an easily readable chart that hangs on the wall in the kitchen and tells where everyone is, at what time, and what time they need to get picked up. That way whomever is on duty knows where to be and when.

It’s never easy, and there are always last minute surprises, but hopefully these small things can make things a bit easier for all of us!

And did I mention…

I’m not sure how the summer went by without me mentioning one of my best discoveries in the supermarket frozen food aisle: Caramel Pretzel Klondike Bars. Seriously delish, with the mix of salty/sweet, and some crunch to boot. We had several different friends here over the summer and each time I pulled them out to offer them for dessert, their eyes lit up and they savored every bite. And every one of them told me not to offer them to the kids so there would be more left for the next day! Try ’em before the weather gets too chilly for ice cream.

Etc.

Well finally the miserable humidity broke here in the east (unfortunately it took some nasty storms in some places to do it). Enjoy the beautiful fall weather while you can. And wear all your cute sandals before it’s too late to show the world your toes!

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One Response to “Back to School Strategy”

  1. Carol* Rachel Says:

    Caramel Pretzel Klondike Bars! CRAZY!!!
    Thans for the tips! 🙂


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