YOU GUYS! Only 4 more tortured weeks before these little hellions are back in class with the teacher! Kidding (Sorta)!!! The reality is, that the new school year will be on us before we can even blink, and I haven’t even had time to get used to them being out of school yet. This summer has just seemed to fly by.
I really need to get my butt in gear and get a few things done before August 15th – and I know I’m not the only Mamma out there that needs a to-do list to help them out. So I asked myself what are the 10 things I know need to happen before my boys get back to it. And so, I took my question to the one place where I knew that I would find all the answers: Facebook. I got some pretty great responses, and armed with some of my favorite Mamas’ suggestions, I set to the task of making this list for you all.
My boys need haircuts badly. I’ve let them spend the entire summer using the pool as a bath. So first a shower and THEN maybe a haircut. But it’s definitely at the top of the list.
For Mamas on a budget: YouTube has some great tutorials for cutting hair (if you’re brave enough to try). Or, barring that – a pair of clippers always comes in handy. Might all be the same length, but at least it’ll be neat.
2. School Supply Shopping
Ugh I don’t even like thinking about walking up and down the crowded aisles of the nearest Wal-Mart or Target, fighting over the last pack of #2 pencils, or searching the entire store (including the grocery area) in the hopes that someone set down a folder with brads. “Yes son I know your favorite color is orange, but pink is all they have so that’s what you’re getting.”
For Mamas on a budget: Most school districts (at least around here) do some sort of back-to-school bash where school supplies are handed out. Make plans to attend if there’s one in your area. If not, I always make a habit of saving school supplies that go unused from year to year. Seriously what class has EVER gone through 7 composition notebooks in one year?! Or a pack of 24 glue sticks for that matter?! Nonetheless, if that’s not an option available, call the school and see if they offer help to students in need, a local church, the library, etc. – never be ashamed to ask for help where you need it! Especially when it comes to your kids. Also, when it comes to clothes, vintage is back baby! Although in my case it probably never left… But don’t discount thrift stores as a way to find some great deals. A lot of clothes may even have tags still.
3. Create a Homework Center
In the past, our homework center = the coffee table in our living room, completed with mood music some people would call Netflix. Not anymore! I don’t care what it takes. We are finding a way to make space that will be specific to homework, backpacks, take-home binders, etc. We lost more papers and forgot to sign more calendars than I care to recount.
For Mamas on a budget: Don’t overthink this. It doesn’t have to be a new desk, or even a used one for that matter. Use what you have. The kitchen table that’s always cluttered?! Clean it off and make it specific to homework – or the coffee table if that’s all you have but maybe keep the ‘mood music’ off.
4. Re-Establish a Morning and Evening Routine
Anyone else raising hands in agreement to this one? I have children who, when they wake up in the morning are…. How do I put this into words…. assholes. I have no idea where they get it from *she says coyly*. I love my kids but MAN do they struggle in the mornings sometimes. Getting back into our routine has always been one of the last things on my list, instead of the first. I am determined to change that this year. My future self will thank me, I’m sure.
For Mamas on a budget: see above.
5. Purge Closets and Drawers
I don’t know about you, but I now have a whole packet of school photos that I absolutely hate, because I let my child choose his own clothes that day. And not just because he chose his own clothes, but because he picked the worst fitting, baggiest and worn-out shirt he could find, and then cried when I told him to pick something else out. I picked my battle that day, and he won…. To my ever-loving regret. That being said, purge, purge, purge like there’s no tomorrow!!! Besides, how the heck else are you going to make room for all those school clothes, if you’ve got all those school clothes in the way? IF you’ve got a LOT of clothes that are still in decent condition – garage sale those suckers and make some money for all that hard work!
For Mamas on a budget: If you’re recycling old school clothes, spend some time mending items that are worth keeping but might have a tear or frayed hem. No sew hem tape and an iron can be a Mom’s best friend. Also, ask around on Facebook or at the church for parents in the midst of purging! This might also be a great time for finding items that someone else’s child outgrew (but still in decent shape). Don’t waste time trying to fix items though, if you know you’ll never get around to doing it. Make that a priority if you’re committed to it.
6. Get Caught Up on Laundry
I don’t believe there’s a lot of explanation necessary here. Do you? I do know that, again, your future self will thank you. And I am NOT above hauling my laundry to the laundromat just so that I can wash more than one load at a time.
7. Schedule Check-Ups with Pediatricians, Dentists, and Ophthalmologists
The last thing you want to hear when you’re walking in to class on the first day is, “Your child’s shot record hasn’t been updated.” Guess who already has to take little Timmy out of class to take care of the issue?! I’m sorry, it took all we had to get ready and get to school this morning, can’t it wait?! Stay ahead of the game and get your well-visits, teeth cleanings, and vision screenings in before any of those things have a chance to become a problem.
For Mamas on a budget: At the risk of repeating myself…. some back-to-school bashes offered by school districts often include opportunities to get free screenings (at least for vision and physicals). You can also keep an eye out on your local paper, for any free events offered by your local hospital or community centers.
8. Stock Pile Lunch Supplies
If your child eats lunch at school, all I have to say to you is – “What did you threaten him/her with to get them to go to school without a homemade lunch?!” Seriously, my children (one in particular) absolutely refuses to eat school lunches. So the best time to stockpile on sandwich bags, lunch bags, sometimes even chips and/or snack foods is right at the start of school. There are a lot of retail chains offering these items at great discounts for classrooms!
For Mammas on a budget: Get what you can when you’re able. Don’t stress over this (items will eventually go back on sale) but instead check out local dollar stores or 99 cent stores.
9. Print Out a School Calendar ASAP
Nothing worse than finding out your child doesn’t have school, the day before… Yes I have been there. I’m sure we got notes…. But remember our ‘homework center’ situation? Anyhow, it’s definitely beneficial to keep a copy of the school calendar so you know which days the kids are testing, when they have an early release, or even which holidays are upcoming. If your school has a website (and it probably does), then most likely the calendar will be posted somewhere on there.
Don’t have a printer? Don’t want to waste the paper? Download the calendar to your phone and save it in your photos. Or add it directly to your google/outlook calendar.
10. Plan to Attend a Meet-The-Teacher Event or Schedule a Meeting With Your Child’s Teacher
This is quite possibly my number one suggestion for any parent but seeing as how all the other things logically will occur before we get to this stage, it’s number 10 on the list. Regardless of the order, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to be ENGAGED. Get involved. Meet the teacher, get to know them, actually have a conversation with them. This doesn’t cost you any money. You lose nothing. Instead you might actually have a better understanding of classroom expectations, teacher expectations, rules, changes, or class schedules. That alone should be a good enough reason!!