Ready or Not, Here We Go! (But It’s Better to Be Ready)
You can refuse to flip the page on the calendar. You can walk swiftly by all those aisles of pencils and paper at the store. You can even hold your breath and submerge yourself underwater in an attempt to avoid it. But it won’t work. School is starting back soon, whether you’re ready or not.
Now. We can either go back into this thing kicking and screaming, or we can be positive and proactive in our approach. Since we should be setting a good example for the kiddos, let’s go with the latter. (Besides, they’re the ones who actually have to go to school every day, right?)
If your family is like mine, there are lots of transitions to make and boxes to check to be fully prepared for the back-to-school season. Here are just a few.
Nothing to Wear
Like weeds in your vegetable garden, your kids have probably grown over the summer. And they’ve probably been living in shorts and swimsuits, so you might not have noticed the growth spurt. But don’t let yourself be caught off guard! Two or three weeks before school starts, get the kids to try on last year’s shirts and pants and make sure they still fit. Have your kids take inventory of how many fitting-and-in-good-shape items they have, and then make a shopping trip to fill in the gaps. And don’t forget shoes! Summer flip-flops have been more forgiving of growing feet than sneakers are, and you don’t want to find your child shoeless on the first day of school. While you’re at it, buy a few more pairs of socks and give yourself the freedom to just throw away all the permanently dirty, holey ones that don’t have matches anyway.
Crayons and Kleenex and Glue — Oh my!
I admit it. I love school supplies. I wish I needed more of them for myself. And my children enjoy shopping for them, as well. But here’s the thing. Shopping with three children, who have three different–and lengthy–school supply lists, can be, shall we say, a bit overwhelming. I get scattered in the brain when faced with all the different notebooks, pens, erasers, and other really specific items that must be located and with my kids asking me questions at the same time and pulling me in different directions. But maybe that’s just me. My advice to you? Go shopping at a non-busy time (for yourself and the store); grab yourself your favorite coffee or tea to sip on; take deep, deep breaths; and give yourself a pep talk. You CAN do this. You WILL find that off-fuchsia folder with pockets AND brads. You will NOT be in this store forever. And be glad that your kids are excited about getting things to do with school. Yay!
Mouths to Feed
You don’t want to be scraping and scrambling for school-morning breakfast foods and items to stuff into lunch bags, so be sure you’re stocked up on groceries a few days before school starts.
Whether it’s nature or nurture, my entire family prefers staying up late at night and sleeping late in the morning, which is not exactly conducive to school schedules. Because we so adore this schedule, our tendency is to just make the switch cold turkey. It makes for difficulty in getting to sleep the night before school starts and produces bleary eyes in the mornings, but we manage. However, in this section, I encourage you to do as I say, not as I do. And here is what I say: It really would be beneficial to both you and your children for you to start working toward a school schedule in bedtimes and wake-up times about a week or so before school starts. Let me know how it goes.
Now that everything is ready, you can gladly welcome the first day of school. And getting everyone there before the tardy bell rings is the cherry on top. Way to go! You did it! Now it’s time to reward yourself for a job well done. If you have to head to the office, treat yourself to a special breakfast or extra rich coffee drink on the way. If you don’t have to go to the office, go sit by the pool or some other body of water all by yourself. And if you can, before school lets out for the day, you should definitely sneak a nap. Finally, by all means, take the kids out for ice cream to hear their stories of the first day and to celebrate another school year!
Carrie Bevell Partridge once got all the kids in the van for the first day of school, only to find that the battery was dead. So you might want to add that to your checklist, too.