Friday, August 7, 2015

How to Survive That First Week of School

Joe Fox, You've Got Mail 
(via Pinterest)
No amount of denial will stop the inevitable. 

Schedules will change. 

Supplies will be bought. 

Children will whine. 

Who am I kidding? It's already begun.

But as a seasoned back-to-schooler, I've learned through trial and error (okay, mostly error) a few things that make it easier to get back into the swing of school things. 

  1. Bacon. Seriously. At my house, the guaranteed way to start a morning happy is to wake the bears with the aroma of their favorite breakfast. I (not even kidding) walk through the house with a sizzling skillet of bacon, and suddenly my kitchen table is surrounded with sleepy, smiling faces. Let your kids pick what they want (eh, within reason), remind them the night before of the yumminess that awaits, and let the aroma gently nudge them awake the next morning. It sure makes a smoother transition than that blaring alarm clock.
  2. Keep it simple. To reduce plastic consumption, I usually pack school lunch items in reusable containers, but for this first week, to shave off some seconds and to reduce the number of synapses my brain will have to make in the mornings, I bought individually wrapped items. That one simple substitute may just keep the straw from breaking this camel's back. If you can simplify--even the smallest things--during that first week, I'm giving you permission: do it. You can get back to saving the world once your survival is secured.
  3. Shop the sales. Back-to-school time can also be financially stressful, so take the time to shop around for the best deals. Most stores have free or almost-free promotional items, so plan ahead and stop in to pick up those items when you're close by. And don't forget to save the bulk of it, including your big-ticket items, for Tax-Free Weekend, if your state offers it. Conversely, don't stress yourself out trying to save 37 cents; your sanity is worth at least 50.
  4. Shop for next year. The best deals on clothes are in July and January. I always try to buy a few pieces of next year's sizes for at least half the price. Boys fashion doesn't change much from year to year, but girls may be a little trickier. Still, even if you stick to the basics, you'll take a load off the back-to-school shopping spree. When that time rolls around, you'll not only be prepared, but also will save tons of money and time in crowded stores.
  5. Spend a little extra time with your kids. The onslaught of supply lists and open houses and sign-ups can be quite demanding on a parent, but make it a point to take care of your first priority first: the children causing all of the chaos. All of this transition is tough on them, too, so dedicate some quiet, one-on-one time talking about their day, their new teachers, and their own anxieties. It'll help you both to gain some perspective and maybe even a little peace.
  6. Pray for your kids . . . their teachers . . . their principals . . . the other mamas . . . and yourself. The most powerful thing you can do is to cover everyone in prayer. Pray that your child and his new teacher will get along great. Pray that his principal will lead with integrity. Pray that you will make it through without imploding even once. Prayer is a powerful tool--your most powerful weapon against the back-to-school crazies.
  7. Soak it all in grace. When your kid has a meltdown over a mechanical pencil, when the cash-register lady is snippy, when you're running late for the first day of school (guilty). . . take a deep breath, and give it some grace. It's tough on them; it's tough on you. But together, with a hearts full of patience and understanding, we're all gonna make it through.
Hang in there. I'm praying for you all. 

Have some tips or survival stories of your own? Share them here. 

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