Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back to WHAT???

I Can't. Cannot. Can. Not. believe it's time for Back to School.  I'm hearing moms everywhere whispering the words, "where did the summer go?"  

We just returned from a camping vacation, and I must say, when I heard that kids there started school July 30th, 31st, and August 1st, I just about croaked right there on the spot.  Only I was having too much fun with my kiddos to croak.  

I can remember back to school time.  I loved the smell of new crayons, my new colorful folders, new elementary writing tablets.... those were the days.  That's also where my love for school ended.  Yep, I hated school.  From day one - til the very end.  
Hated. Every. Minute!

As a mom, back to school time is bittersweet.  I love every minute I get to spend with my kids during the summer.  But I also love the time to clean my house, run errands, put in a few extra hours at the office, and blog!  

I must admit, even as hard as I try, back to school time always leaves me feeling a little overwhelmed.  All the paper work that needs completed, the lunch accounts that need filled, the health check ups, the sports physicals, the new and important information the school throws at me EVERY. SINGLE.  YEAR.  Multiply that by two, or three, or four, and it can leave a mom breathless.

So what are my tried and true tips for staying sane during back-to-school?

1.  Start with a list. For every paper you receive the first week of school, write down each "next action" or "task" that needs attention.  

2.  Process your list:  Once you have a running list, keep checking it until you're certain you've completed each task.  It's the only way to be certain you won't forget a thing.

3.  Work your two-minute tasks:  This is a simple rule.  If it takes you less than 2 minutes to complete a task, do it immediately.  You'll be surprised how many tasks you can complete and finish in 2 minutes or under.  When they're complete, mark them off your list.

4.  Keep a Master calendar:  I'm certain you have a family calendar, a personal calendar, and probably an electronic calendar or two.  Make sure you process dates accordingly. Every day you sign up for lunchroom duty, to dust the class room, to be super-wonder-woman teacher's aid... write them on your calendar.  If you use an electronic version, give yourself 24 hours notice as a reminder.  That way, you won't forget those important commitments you've made the first week of school.

5.  Sign up for electronic notifications:  I must admit, I hate, let me just emphasize this, I hate electronic lunch accounts.  The one available to us charges us an additional surcharge of nearly 5% to sign up and use the account.  I'd rather pay with a check...for free.
   However, last year I got so many emails from the cafeteria telling my one account or another was nearly empty, that this year I'm considering saving myself and the lunchroom monitor the headache and just signing up for the e-account.  Because, let's face it...I'm never going to get up early enough every day to make nutritious homemade lunches.
   Many schools offer electronic notifications when your child visits the nurses station, is tardy to class, has a low lunch account balance, when there is a weather alert, etc.  Sign up for those notifications.  It will save you time, and you'll be connected to what's going on in your child's day.

Starting each day with a healthy breakfast, keeping nighttime and morning routines consistent are key for kids to have a great day in school.  Keeping all your ducks in a row is essential to a busy back-to-school mom's sanity.

Best of luck to you as you embark on this very exciting business of Back-To-School time.

Only By His Grace,


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