The furious pace at disney was just a warm up for the true event of the year, BACK TO SCHOOL. Many mummys are well seasoned and used to the craziness, but for this new kindergarten mummy, it was a logistically challenging, emotionally exhausting and physically demanding couple of weeks preparing for the man cubs to head to full time school. Another parenting milestone has been survived but not without learning a few things ….
It’s All about Preparation, Pinterest and Patience.
Don’t wait until the last minute to get a start on school prep. Sure, you might get a few last minute deals at the local Target, but the choices will be limited and the back to school section will picked over and and looking like something from the Zombie Apocalypse. Getting started on back to school stuff well in advance is a wise strategy. As soon as that school supply list is available, jump on it, whether you do it all at once or in bits and pieces … Carpe Diem and any tax free shopping days! For more ideas and how to’s here is a good starting place: https://www.pinterest.com/pinterest/back-to-school/
Its not just about a back pack, cool stuff to put in it and a coordinating lunch box to fill with yummy Pinterest approved kids lunch specials. What about clothes? It’s difficult to think about when it is 100 deg plus outside, but fall will arrive one morning when you are least expecting it. For those with a uniform list, I salute you! For the rest of us, its hi ho to Target again. Do your kiddos need new rain jackets, coats, hats, gloves and snow gear?
This company has it all and is favorite of mine: https://oakiwear.com
How about new shoes? It never ceases to amaze just how quickly kids grow. There is truth in the adage that kids grow exponentially after a summer of sun and fresh air. Make sure to select easy to care for items and Label EVERYTHING . A permanent marker and labelling kit will become your new accessory of choice. Here is a great resource for some cute cute labels: http://mabelslabels.com
Other things to consider before school starts include a school visit. We were lucky enough to have an open house before school started, where the kids got to meet their new teachers, see their classrooms, locate their cubbies and coat hooks and get a sense of how things were going to be. This was a great experience and prompted a lot of discussion about their new routine. My kids are busing it too, so I did a dry run. I walked them to the bus stop and home again a couple of times and chatted about the change to make it seem as normal as possible. Don’t forget that the schedule will be morphing drastically from the lazy, more relaxed summer hols. It didn’t hurt us to start shifting bed times and get ups a little earlier in the day and talking about how things will be different once school starts. The new schedule is a lot, so sleep is the most essential component to keeping things on track.
That First Morning
The kids will be excited and ready to rumble. Enjoy it as it won’t be long before you are having to drag then out of bed while threatening PJs at school if the don’t get dressed NOW !!!! That first morning I found it helped to have clothes out ready, backpacks filled and lunch made ahead. For some quick easy and yummy lunch ideas i looked here
Sure, it was a lot of work, but it helped maintain a sense of calm, despite the excitement. The kids will be bouncing of the walls, but be prepared for a few poignant moments to sneak up on you and say boo! It seems like yesterday that my boys they were wee ones.
It is quite something to see them all dressed and ready for school. The days are long and the years really, really, really, really short.
I love my bustop tribe. We are all busy mums and dads with things to do and places to go. Getting to know new neighbors is a plus. There have been a lot of swapped emails and phone numbers and the all important ” just in case ” contact info. We are indeed a village and one that is mutually responsible for all the kids at our stop.The rules and regulations of the bus will vary for us all, but it doesn’t hurt to talk the kids through riding the bus. Finding a seat , sitting with new friends , staying in their seat and behaving nicely are so important. Getting to know the bus driver is a must too. There is an element of comfort in knowing your bus driver and them knowing you. It has been helpful to further build a sense of community by just saying hi at pick up and drop off.
Prepare them for longer, longer busier days. I was shocked to see their daily school schedule. There is not a dull moment. Prepare them for meeting a lot of new people all at once. There are new teachers, new friends and a new routine to embrace. It can be overwhelming and that is just for us Mummies! Model making friends and embracing everything new by getting to know the teachers and other parents of children in the class . Signing up for class volunteering , the PTA and other parent activities as your time allows can leave you feeling exhausted, but there is no time like now for jumping into your new community head first.
“What did you do today? ” “Nothing …..”
Don’t expect a garrulous outpouring of kindergarten details here. The kiddos experiences will be shared in snippets in five year old time. It is not uncommon for the boys to suddenly remember an activity from last week that they share at that evenings bath time. Asking specific questions does help. ” Who did you sit next to at lunch? Did you go to the media room today? Did you learn a new wordI am loving the following three dinner time questions, “Were you brave today?” ” Were you kind today?’ “What did you learn today?” For some other ideas depending on the age of your wee ones again Pinterest has some good resources:
Remember that challenging couple of hours back in the day after naps and before dinner where melt downs were a given??? That is just training my friends . Nothing says meltdown like tired, hungry kids with an hour to kill before dinner, baths, stories and bed. We have played around with a few ways to kill that time without bloodshed. Post school play dates are great, but while they keep the kiddos occupied, managing a gaggle of tired hungry children who have energy to expend can be ” tricky” and activities can quickly devolve into warfare . Or is that just my kids???
Clever mummies know that a post school snack is the most essential meal of the day. QUICK and EASY saves the day. Of course the trick is to not have it too filling before dinner, so it is back pinterest for great post school snack ideas :
A time to sit down for a few minutes doesn’t hurt either a quick snuggle and a family reconnect keep things on an even keel. Reading, coloring, origami, playdoh …. you get me?
Can you say outdoor play? This has been the savior for us. The boys get far less time outside now than at their previous school and are ready to run around or ride their bikes for a while . I am learning that there is a very subtle balance between after school activities and having over tired 5 year olds who are past the point of reason and sanity. Dont fall in to the TV trap! The easy button is tempting, but is is the worst way to end the afternoon and just increases the likelihood of meltdowns and ultra drama. After an hour of playtime things early dinners are a mummy must. Yeh an early dinner can be followed by family time, maybe some screen time, early baths, storys and bed. After a another harried day in the parenting trenches my mummy friends, it is time for the a re group with my new back to school mantra:
Preparation, Patience, Pinterest and of course that well earned glass of Pinot Noir.