Monday, July 28, 2008

Countdown to School

Where I live, we are at the 15-day countdown to school... mind you, to school, not the end of summer.15 days left until school. Drama girl will enter sixth grade and the first year of middle school. My sons will enter Pre-Kindergarten.

Now, the one thing about my children, they don’t handle change very well. In this house, the kids live by Routine, and we all suffer if Routine is broken.

So, here’s my list of things I’m doing to prepare the children and myself for… gasp… Not Quite Fall But Back To School…

Wake up for school, now
Gone are the sleeping-in days. Drama Girl is getting up at 6 a.m. to prepare for her 7:20 a.m. start time. It gives her little under an hour to eat, shower and dress before she rides her bike to school.

Second batch of school shopping this week
I mentioned I already bought her some school clothes. This week, we’ll go pick up some more jeans and a couple of tops. Spreading out the school clothes shopping means she doesn’t pick out bad fashion choices she’ll hate in three months in ‘back to school’ mania. It’s also cheaper. Welcome to my world.

Chore chart, this week
In our house, everyone’s schedule is going to change radically. By getting all the kids used to the ‘before school’ and ‘after school’ routine (minus someone’s homework Bwahhahahah) now, it won’t be such a shocker when they go. The boys earn ‘points’ (poker chips) for good behavior and, as of this week, doing certain chores. The points collected at the end of the day turn into stickers. After so many stickers, they get a treat. I know it sounds complicated, but believe me, it’s easier than any other method I’ve seen or tried.

Better breakfasts’, now
I’ve read the
Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood and I recommend that book for all parents. Gone are the pricey cereals that, even if they are the healthiest on the block, only last two days. Enter oatmeal. Every morning, my children get a nice helping of Quaker Oats oatmeal with a bit of milk and maple syrup or brown sugar, or honey, or fruit… you get the idea. I will also add other breakfast to break it up, but I’ve established oatmeal as the staple.

Ban soda
and lets just not talk about my current issues with Diet Coke. To be quite honest, my lust for cold, carbonated chemicals comes and goes.

Math refresher
this is probably not Drama Girl’s favorite, but when I approached her with the idea, she wanted to do it. See, she has a problem with
mulitplication. Mostly, it’s because the schools she went to teach three different ways to do mulitplication and division (don’t get me started) and it just confused her. So during her normal ‘homework’ time, we’ll be doing 30 minutes of multiplication and division facts. If your kid is weak in any area, and you have time (i.e. you don’t work) I think this is a great way to both help strengthen the weakness, and get them ready for well, homework.

Doing dinner – a pure Mom thing –
I have been making
dinner using my favorite cookbook at some point between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and occasionally earlier, using whatever I had, or the phone to call for pizza. But for the after school and bedtime routines to work, I need to have a consistent meal time that’s early enough for everyone to have some down-time. So enter the ‘make dinner’ time. Consistent, every day, and pre-planned. I do really well with this, so it won’t be too hard. I just need to start now. Our meal times are at 6 p.m. every night.

Bedtime no ifs, ands, ors or buts about it –
Now, even in the summer, everyone in this house has a standard bed time. We’re quite obnoxiously boring about it. I don’t even allow the children to deviate much on the weekends. Drama Girl gets maybe an hour extra on the weekends. Healthy Sleep, Healthy Baby pretty much agrees with me on bed times. Turbo and Bear are in bed at 8 p.m. Now that they are in pre-K, I will roll the bedtime back to 7:30 p.m. Drama Girl is in bed at 9:30 p.m. Last year, she was in bed at 9 p.m. and lights out at 9:30 p.m. But last year she could sleep until 7:30. This year, she will be in bed at 8:30 p.m. and lights out at 9 p.m. If you do one thing, I suggest this be it. A routine bed time does wonders for parental sanity. Oh, it’s good for the kids too.

So, what am I missing?

What essential Back-to-School preparations should I be making that I’ve left out?


RainyPM said...

Are you prepared for the moment you send all the kids out the door? Will it be tears or a party?

Lahdeedah said...


It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to...