elementary school years

Back to School Reboot

2015.08.24

Well hey it’s back to school and I don’t know about you, but our first week lasted approximately 87 days. Or so it seems.

Every year the optimist in me approaches the new school year with enthusiasm, and by the first Friday I want to stab my eyes out with the kids’ freshly sharpened pencils. Transitions are fun like that.

That said, in my years of parenting school-age kids I have learned a few things about coping with the first weeks of school.

1. Don’t volunteer for anything at Parent Night. After hearing the presentations by the principal and teachers, you will be drunk with enthusiasm. Don’t volunteer while under the influence! Give yourself a grace period. Trust me, the teachers and PTA will still want your help after the first week.

2. Make more routines and fewer rules. Instead of hard-and-fast rules, such as no screen time during the school week, we try to focus on fluid, helpful routines. Every day when you get home, hang up your backpack, empty your lunchbox and wash your hands...pretty much exactly what you do when you walk in your classroom. Screens are a maybe...only after homework and only on non-activity days. Bedtime routines are fixed but times shift depending on the after school activities, with ultimate veto power held by parents.

3. Decline all but critical invitations. My kids have had so much unstructured time during the summer that school schedules completely drain them. We don’t add anything extra into the family mix at first. Sorry, early September birthdays...but we are probably going to pass. (Especially if it’s a party that ends in Cheeze. Who am I kidding? This is great year-round advice.)

4. Make lunches before dinner. I can’t actually vouch for this tip, but it’s one of our goals this year. The post-dinner cleaning and lunch-making is such a buzzkill in our house that it can turn a perfectly nice evening into a major grouchfest. The chore might still be a drag, but at least it won’t be a drag at the very end of the night.

5. Schedule the date nights immediately. Five days into our school year and suddenly 90 percent of our spousal conversations are centered around calendars and carpools. If I’m not careful, Thanksgiving will be here before we remember to enjoy each other.

6. Plan a weekday pizza night. This is a year-round thing for us. Once a week we order pizza and (this part is critical) always make sure there is enough for the next day’s school lunches. A win-win!

What helps you get through the back-to-school transition?

 

 

Battle cry

2014.06.20.SiblingRevelry-7 Four weeks into the summer and this is what my kids are fighting about:

 

He stole that one awesome LEGO piece that only came in that one awesome set.

She never has to shower first.

He's touching me!

Why won't he let me hug him?

He said he hates broccoli the most but only I do.

He's copying me!

She's ignoring me!

It's my turn to be It.

I always have to be It.

She harvested ALL of my Family Barn wheat and it takes 24 hours to regenerate.

He moved my pencil.

She sat in my chair.

He never walks the dog as often as I do.

He didn't let me find the farting cow on Pictureka.

He threw my favorite torpedo in the deep end.

She always guesses the trivia questions before me.

He smooshed all the silly putty into one big pile and now we can't tell whose is whose.

He keeps unplugging my Kindle from his charger.

She keeps using my Kindle charger and it's not my fault she lost hers.

He called me a brat.

She keeps calling it indigo but it's really blue.

He's humming.

She's smacking.

He's clapping.

He never gets in trouble.

She always gets her way.

They always, always think they're right.

 

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Want more? You might enjoy this one or this one about sibling revelry.