Today I’ve had that old Nat King Cole song, “The Party’s Over” running through my head. Every year around this time I start experiencing what I can only describe as the “Back To School Blues”. Not because *I* have to go back to school, but because of all that’s involved in transitioning kids from “carefree summertime mode” to the more structured “school year mode”. I mean what’s to LIKE about “Back To School” anyway? (Except for the fact that the house will stay a lot cleaner, a lot quieter, and my food costs will most likely go down considerably!)
There’s clothes shopping, school supplies shopping, waiting in long lines at registration, paperwork…I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. And at every turn someone wants your money! It’s enough to make me want to go screaming into the night! (Or at least hide until it’s all over!)
Well, I’m going to take some of my own advice to stop complaining and start being proactive!
Here are a few things we can start doing NOW that will help ease the “back to school” transition for kids AND parents!
Start changing bed times and wake times NOW.
If bedtime has been 10 p.m. all summer, expecting your kids to go to bed at 8 p.m. the night before school starts is asking for trouble. Because 7 a.m. is going to come VERY EARLY when they are used to tumbling out of bed at the crack of NOON (like mine!) That’s why it’s important to start changing your child’s routine now.
Try moving bedtime up in half-hour increments every few days. Start waking them a half-hour earlier as well. Making these changes ahead of time should ease that back to school alarm clock shock.
Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines.
Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines, especially breakfast, at least a week before school starts. Include pre-bedtime reading and household chores if these were suspended during the summer.
Reduce television viewing.
While there’s nothing wrong with lazy summer afternoons sprawled in front of the TV, there simply won’t be time once school starts. The week before school begins, start limiting evening and night viewing. For example, declare television off limits after 9 p.m. Encourage your child to read or relax by listening to music just before bedtime.
Limit electronics time.
Since it’s tough to go cold turkey, start scaling back. Set daily limits for video games, computer games and Facebook. You may find it necessary to take possession of the electronic devices when the time is up. Control access by requiring your older children to recharge all devices in a centrally located place like the kitchen or your home office at night instead of in their bedroom.
Allow your child to get back in touch with friends or meet new classmates by arranging playdates before the first day of school. If your child can make one or two friends before school starts, she will be so much happier to go to school.
Stock up on school supplies while prices are low.
School supplies often don’t make it through a whole semester, let alone an entire school year. Buy everything your child will need for the school year now, so you can take advantage of the back-to-school specials. Whatever you don’t use this year can be saved for next year. And speaking of saving money…
Minimize clothes shopping woes.
Buy only the essentials. Summer clothes are usually fine during the early fall, but be sure to have at least one pair of sturdy shoes. Check with your school to confirm dress code guidelines.
Prepare for the homework ahead.
Set up a well-lit, quiet place with a good work surface to do homework and establish a regular homework time. Having set routines and a place to study at home will make it easier for your child to be organized and successful at school.
Arrange for transportation.
Everyone will feel better if transportation to and from school is addressed well before the start of the school year, particularly if your child is walking, riding his bike or taking the bus.
Get back to healthy eating.
If your family is like mine, your household inventory of potato chips and cookies skyrockets during the summer. The arrival of fall is a perfect time to get kids back on the healthy eating track.
Make a school lunch meal plan.
School lunches are probably the most challenging thing I face every year! My 17 year old has celiacs and has to have gluten-free lunches and my 14 year old is the pickiest eater on the planet!!!! If you’re tired of trying to come up with school lunch ideas (like I am!) do I have a treat for you!
I recently found an amazing resource on this subject called MOMables!
MOMables was started by Laura Fuentes, a mom of 3 kids under seven years old, to help other parents get out of the lunch packing rut. MOMables offers a weekly school lunch meal plan with 5 lunch ideas, a prep-ahead sheet and a shopping list to help us busy moms feed our kids good food they will actually eat for only $6 per month!
THANK YOU Laura!!!
Laura has been kind enough to offer OGT readers a sample week of MOMables for FREE, when you sign up for their weekly newsletter. It’s also loaded with free recipes, tips and much more.
Today, MOMables is ALSO sharing a sample recipe with us from one of their meal plans. (I just LOVE the turkey and cheese “swords!”)
No-Mayo Egg Salad
• 8 hard boiled eggs, diced small
• 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
• ¼ cup Greek yogurt
• ground black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix thoroughly, cover and keep in the fridge.
2. To assemble lunch: Lay 4 bread slices on a flat surface. Make egg salad sandwiches. Or, place egg salad portion in a lunch container and serve with crackers, fruit and veggies.
Make-ahead tip: If you decide to make egg salad sandwiches the night before, cut them in half and place them in the freezer. In the morning, place sandwiches in a lunch container along with fruit and veggies. Sandwiches will thaw out by lunch and this way you don’t need to pack ice-packs!
The recipes even come with packing tips so the food doesn’t go bad! Plus, all of the recipes have pictures so you know exactly what the food should look like.
If you are looking to get the school year to a good start, get help with picky eaters, and feel less overwhelmed with kids food in general; signing up is your first step!
And good luck with the transitioning everybody! I’ll see you in the school registration line! :-)
Compensation for this post was provided by MOMables. Opinions expressed here are my own.