Back to school... 3 words that can strike fear, stress, or even joy in the hearts of kids and moms alike.
I love summer! Not only does it provide warmer and usually sunny weather, I get to sleep just a little later and enjoy swimming and backyard barbecues with the fam. But I will admit that I'm usually ready for the school year to start so we can all get back into more predictable schedules. However, these schedules can come with a great deal of stress.
I'm no expert, but as a mom of 22+ years and still making my way through all of this kid craziness, I have a few tips that can hopefully ease you back into the school year...
BATCH WEEKLY WORK
Take a day to do all of the meal prep for the week. This way, you're not scrambling each night to chop veggies or put together a casserole. You can also do all of the laundry on one day so you're not doing a little every day (or worse, scrambling to wash Little Johnny's beloved, well-worn, but must-have Batman shirt).
RETHINK WHAT YOUR KIDS CAN DO
This one has been a game-changer in my household. When my husband and I found out that we were expecting twins (almost 10 years ago), he decided that our oldest who was 12 at the time was the perfect age to start doing her own laundry. While our 9 year old wasn't quite ready to manage the washer and dryer, she was very capable of folding and putting away her own laundry. Think about which of the chores that you normally do can be done by your kids. They may grumble a bit, but they'll feel a sense of accomplishment and understand that a family is a team who works together to keep harmony in the house.
MAINTAIN A FAMILY CALENDAR
In this day and age of extra-curricular activities gone mad, it's not easy to keep everyone's schedules organized. I can't live without my family calendar! Each week on Sunday, we review what we will have going on during the week. This way, we're all on the same page and there are no (or few) surprises. And don't forget to put in some family time on the calendar! On the topic of schedules, I've got to add that we should be thoughtful about what outside activities get our time and attention. So many organizations ask for our time and the next thing you know, you're drowning in volunteer commitments. Commit to 1 or 2 things that are important to you and say a graceful NO to the rest.
MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY TIME
I don't have to tell you how difficult it is to find good, quality time as a family. What I do know is that the time when your kids start moving out comes oh so quickly and we need to enjoy them while they're still at home! Going back to school can be stressful for kids of all ages. Being there to listen and help them through it gives them confidence and lets them know that we've always got their back. Family game night, family dinners and fun outings are important bonding (and just plain fun) activities. And don't forget to make time as a couple. Date nights and quiet times together make for a stronger couple and therefore a stronger family!
Whether that's in the form of a carpool, help with housekeeping, or babysitting coop (or refer back to my earlier point that kids can do so much more than we think sometimes), don't feel like you have to be a superwoman! Realize your limitations (yes, we all have them!) and get some help. Trust me - you'll save your sanity with this one.
GIVE YOUR COLLEGE KIDDOS A LITTLE LOVE
My 2nd daughter will be starting college this month so I know the mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness as a child moves to this next stage of life. Writing a note that your child will find later is a nice way to remind them of your love and support. You can also include a small gift, such as the Faith Earrings or another token of encouragement.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE
No matter what you see on Instagram or Facebook, nobody has it all together. Let go of the guilt you have for not cooking every -or most- meals from scratch. As you watch your child go off to school with hair that may not have been brushed properly in 2 days, know that he has what he needs most - your love! And don't forget to take care of yourself - take a hot bath, get some exercise, have a spa day, take time for prayer and meditation. Do something that will fill your cup and help you to go back to your family stronger physically and mentally.
I hope that this transition back to school will be smooth and full of excitement for new things to come!
All My Best,
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