It’s that time of year again! September has arrived which means that school is in full swing (at least here in Canada). I am always reminded of the hilarious commercial Staples released several years ago where the father is joyously sailing through the store with his two very unimpressed children in tow. I found it funny when I didn’t have kids, and even more so now. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on YouTube it’s worth a visit. Here are 6 common back to school struggles and some helpful tips on how to solve them.
Mornings. Waking sleeping children just feels wrong, you work so long trying to get them to sleep well and here we are having to wake them up. It really doesn’t seem fair and your kids probably agree! Add in those dark, cold winter mornings and this struggle is multiplied. Who wants to get out of a cozy bed…for school?!
Tip: In mornings are a struggle set clear expectations for what needs to get done (breakfast, dressed, teeth brushed, lunch packed) and then “keep the train moving”. You move on to the next activity and don’t nag your kids every step of the way. That might mean that they go to school in the PJ’s one day, or their lunch might be a little light if they didn’t plan ahead. But they will quickly learn what needs to get done and that the morning train stops for no one.
Buying school supplies. So much stuff, but what do they really need? And are we really having a fight over what backpack and lunch bag to buy?
Tip: Wait until your child actually heads back to school to get a list of the items they require. Some schools will send a long list of supplies required where others only ask for a few boxes of kleenex for the classroom. But waiting you won’t be shopping for things you don’t need.
Back to school clothes. Buying back to school clothes can be tiresome… dragging the kids to the mall to try on new clothes. No one wants to be stuck inside when you can be savoring the last few warm days before fall arrives.
Tip: Consider taking the easy way out and shopping on-line. Check out the end of summer sales (maybe pick up some bigger items for next year) and take advantage of frees shipping and returns. If you have a child going into Junior Kindergarten check out this back to school shopping list.
Two words: the bus. Young children seem to enjoy the bus, for the first couple days that is…then the novelty seems to wear off. Another problem with the bus is getting there on time. If you are close to the school and are able, walking can be a great second option, but if your in the country and have a job to get to, time is of the essence. Getting everyone dressed with lunches in hand can be hard and should even mention winter clothes?? I think not.
Tip: Talk to your children early on about how they will be getting to school and prepare them to carry their own backpack. The biggest issue we had when Monkey started school was the fact that he was mad that he didn’t get to take the bus.
Lunches. I’d like to think I’ll be a mom that prepares those awesome bento box style lunches, you know the ones with the containers that are sectioned off and the ingredients are themed with smiley faces? Yeah, one can only dream. If you have managed to do this with more then one child, please let me know your secret.
Tip: I prepare most of the lunches for the week on Sundays. I slice and divide up fruits and veggies along with crackers or pretzels so that I can just pack and go in the mornings. For a quick treat once a week I love the Rice Krispies Squares made with Brown Rice. The kids LOVE these as a treat and I feel good about sending them as they are made from whole grains. Don’t believe me check out our Easy School Lunch Ideas video:
I am a mom and I #ApproveThisLunchbox!
Homework. It starts off easy and then gets progressively harder as the years go by in regards to time and subject. At least there is a warm up, right? Homework is not just a struggle for kids, but also for parents too. I remember many battles at the kitchen table and even a few tears when it came time to get projects completed.
Tip: Get into a routine, when will homework be completed? Right after school or after dinner? Don’t over schedule your kids so that you are compromising time for school work to run off to piano lessons, swimming lessons, hockey practice, martial arts, and more. Pick 1 or 2 activities to do during the year so that you are not stretched too thin.
As exciting as the first day of school can be – Freedom for parents again – the following days can be difficult. However, know there is balance and once October comes there will be a new steady flow to the household. And then we can start counting down to summer again!!
Now I am off to pack some lunches. Let me know in the comments what are your favourite things to pack in your child’s lunch?