September has arrived! Who is more excited about school - you or your kids?
I was that kid who lived for back-to-school shopping. I didn’t always need new clothes, but I adored school supplies. Nothing made my day more than a brand-new pack of pencil crayons, fresh notebooks, and a set of those cool new Crayola markers in the “bold” shades - you know the ones - raspberry, teal, mustard yellow, that deep navy blue… Walking through Walmart now, my 9-year-old self would probably pass out at all the amazing options. I mean, sparkle markers? Yes, please!
Last September, I sent my oldest off to school for the first time. I had to take the day off work to recover. I was eternally grateful for my friends at Vesta, an amazing store and community nearby, where they hosted an event for all the misty-eyed moms like me.
So parents, if you’re sending your kid (who you could have sworn just entered the world last week) off to school for the first time this year, please know that it’s totally okay to take the day. If you’re feeling emotional about it, make a plan to get together with some other parents who are in the same boat. Share some coffee and snacks (and tears if needed!).
Ok, that was your bonus tip. On to the practical stuff.
1. Avoid Making Extra Plans
Seriously, just don’t. You kids will be so very tired after getting back into this routine. Especially younger kids, and those just starting school for the first time. It is an overwhelming week with so many new faces and new things to do and learn, and rules to follow. Let your kids come home and veg out. Read books, blow bubbles, ride bikes, draw pictures, but nothing extra. Don’t visit the grandparents. Put piano lessons and sports off for a few weeks. Let them get used to one thing at a time.
2. Feed them Early
Pull out that crockpot, order pizza, grill up some hotdogs, whatever it takes. After a summer of snacking whenever they felt like it, going back to a more scheduled way of eating means you will have hungry bellies coming through your door. And hungry bellies usually make for grumpy children. Have snack waiting for them, and then dinner early because…
3. Early bed time
Friends, school is EXHAUSTING for little kids. Their growing brains and bodies have worked HARD at school. And if your Kindergartener was a napper up until the day before school, they will be capable of very little other than collapsing into bed right after dinner. Or at the table, during dinner. Or on the bus on the way home.
4. Make lunches the night before
Before you roll your eyes at me, please know that I, too, despise making lunches. It was a huge, exciting deal for me the first time. By the end of week one of school, I was SO OVER making school lunches. You know what’s worse than making lunches the night before? Making them in the morning.
When your kid sees what you’re packing and gives their opinion on what’s in there. So do future you a favour, and just get it done. It actually only takes a couple of minutes. And there’s some amazing lunch ideas out there on Pinterest if your kid isn’t into sandwiches. And no, you are not required to cut their food into interesting shapes and then eat the scraps of their sandwich for your lunch. If your children are hungry, they’ll eat. If they’re not hungry, they won’t.
5. Keep your expectations low
Like, really low. Tired, overstimulated children will not remember to use their manners. They will not want to tell you every detail of their day. They probably won’t even remember their day. When you see them again after school, hug them tight, tell them how happy you are to see them again, and then feed them. They will tell you about their day when they’re ready.
I could go on, but nobody likes an overly-long blog post, so I’ll save more goodies for next September.
Sometimes September doesn’t go like you thought it would, and parents end up feeling overwhelmed with all the things. That’s ok. You’re still figuring this out, and so are your children. Go easy on yourself too. If you could use a bit of extra support with managing the transition to school, parent coaching might be something that could help. Give me a call and we can talk about how to simplify your life a bit.