Today, I’m taking a pause on writing reflections in preparation for the Back-to-School-Blitz (BTSB) that’s about to take over in many-a-household in the next few days or weeks. It’s the time of year when parents are scurrying about, trying to prepare their schedules to accommodate the onslaught of BTS activities that are getting ready to take over the month of August. And, the children are in denial mode, refusing to acknowledge that they’re about to reenter the academic zone for a new and more challenging year than the one they just finished.
Well, I may not be able to control the fact that the BTSB is back again, but I can control how I respond to it. In other words, I’m going to do things totally different than prior years; I’m going to refrain from procrastinating this time around. I mean why not see how it feels to proactively ease into the first week of school instead of doing the last minute reactionary thing that I normally do? After all, it’s not like I’m unaware that school restarts every mid-August for two of my kiddos. One down, two to go. If you recall from previous news that I shared with you, my daughter just graduated from college (Yeeeeeeeess), my oldest son will be taking on his second year of college (the light at the end of the tunnel is at least slightly visible), and my youngest is entering fourth grade (oh, he’s not even looking for a light and where’s the tunnel?).
In all seriousness, the beginning of the school year is always fun for me. I excitedly take in all of the syllabus info, agendas/planners, parent’s notes, homework folders, textbook assignments, schedules of activities, parent orientations, bus driver introductions, and “how was your day/who did you talk to and sit by/what is your teacher like?” conversations I can get my hands on or get my child to engage in with me. Yes, I’m still all up in my adult children’s business, too. And they’re so used to me living vicariously through their reports of all things school and work that they’d probably go into extreme shock if I didn’t periodically have them do a verbal run-down of their day with me. I’ll admit it . . . I’m a momma who takes pride and pleasure in the well-rounded individuals my children are becoming. So, I’m always ready to see what the new school year has in store for my kiddos (in terms of their character and scholastic development).
With all of that being said, the start of the school year I’m not the best prepared for is what I like to call the BTSB housekeeping (prep) activities. These activities are critical to the smooth start of the first week of school (for you and your child); and the sooner you take on these items (before your child’s first day), the better. This year I’m determined to be on top of things. Fortunately, I only have Little Man to really get prepared for. And at this point, I’m left with about a week and a half to get my Top 5 BTSB Housekeeping (Prep) Activities accomplished (really 5 days if I want to avoid the label of “BTS Procrastinator”). These suggested activities are good for all of you that have school-aged children. They are as follows:
- Ease your child into a school bedtime schedule. A week or two before classes start, you should have you child going to bed by the prescribed bedtime. (That means 20 – 30 minutes before your child’s head needs to hit his or her pillow, you should have your child start the daily nighttime routine (use the bathroom, brush teeth, read a bedtime story, pray, etc.). It will take some time for your child to recalibrate his or her get up and go-to-bed routine, so start this preparatory activity a week (preferably two weeks) before school starts. Believe me when I say it’ll make both your lives easier if you give your child an adjustment period before the real deal hits.
- Research a variety of options for school lunches. Get going on this one asap. You should try to get at least two weeks worth of lunch options for your child so that there can be a healthy rotation that prevents any one lunch choice from being played out. Last school year, ingenuity in food prep was a challenge for me, as Little Man didn’t eat the lunches provided at school. Therefore, nine months worth of bringing his lunch from home was required. This year, my goal is to study up on recipes and lunch ideas online and in my cookbooks to make sure I can provide enough food choices that my son looks forward to eating when lunch period rolls around.
- Don’t wait until the day before school starts or after school starts to shop for clothes for your child. Schedules are going to get busy pretty quickly, so start this activity early and get it out of the way. My son wears school uniforms and I absolutely love this concept. Ultimately, this scenario allows for the pressure to be taken off of you and your child when it comes to picking out clothing items. But a problem results when you wait until the last minute to shop. School uniform pieces in the sizes, colors, and school-designated design needed may be unavailable when you shop last minute, and consequently, have to be ordered by the store or online. (My son’s school actually provides new and used clothing items for purchase during enrollment. However, I usually end up going to my local Old Navy store to get his uniform pieces. Nevertheless, I encourage you to take advantage of this shopping experience if your school has such an option.) Regardless of school uniform requirements or not, shopping one to two weeks before school starts is just a good rule of thumb and allows for your child to pick from a myriad of options instead of choosing from the slim-pickings. Getting caught in the mall or neighborhood store during BTSB isn’t the ideal situation for anyone.
- Don’t wait until the day before school starts or after school starts to shop for school supplies either. For the same reasons above, you should be on top of this activity. Many stores provide school supply lists per grade to help you out with item choices. Also, your school may provide the list on its online website and most definitely during enrollment, so no excuses for not getting on this one asap. (Again, my son’s school actually provides prepackaged school supply bags for each grade level and offers them for purchase during enrollment. This service makes my job so much easier because less shopping is needed and I’m guaranteed to have the school items in the specific brands with the specific requirements the teacher has requested.)
- Last but not least, get your BTS school schedule drafted. Needless to say, your child’s school-year schedule will be different than his or her summer schedule. So, have your draft/your tentative schedule outline ready for the first day of school. In that first couple of weeks after school starts, run through your schedule and tweak it as you go along to make it work for you and your child. I figure that, after these two weeks, you should be able to finalize your school schedule and work off of it pretty much throughout the rest of the year (with revisions here and there, as needed). Check out the attached Weekday Schedule example and feel free to use and revise it for your needs.
Kudos to you for getting through this long post. I pray that your reading efforts were worth it and that you find these five suggested activities for BTSB preparation helpful to you. I’ll end by saying . . . make the time to be on time with important matters. Life is less stressful that way.