Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, September 5, 2014

How To Cope With The Beginning Of School

This is one of the most stressful times of the year for me.  Not only is it the start of school again, we moved to a new school district.  This meant filling out lots of forms weeks ago and receiving even more forms after school started.  I have four kids in three different schools.  Next year my kids will be in four different schools and we'll have our baby by then too.  Each of the schools does things differently and I have so much to remember.  If you're feeling overwhelmed, the following things help:

1.  Use your calendar. If you use your phone, have a paper back-up.  You don't want to lose everything because your toddler threw it on the ground.  Or in the toilet.  Maybe even in a lake.  (That happened to my husband.)
2.  Compile your kids' school supply lists into one master list or else you'll wander all over the store.  Just make sure it's detailed.  One kid might need a box of 24 colored pencils and another might need 12.
3.  Divide and conquer.  You and your spouse can split up Open House night, which our old schools called "Curriculum Night".  I go to the one for sure for our son who has the most issues because I will end up doing the most communicating with his teachers.  I leave easier children to my husband, especially if we have to go the same night.  This year we have four different nights.
4.  Have a lot of easy meals on hand.  You're going to spend a lot of time filling out paperwork.
5.  Make a document with all important information you need.  Mine contains my kids' bus routes, times, their alternating class schedules, teachers' names, school hours, etc.  I simply can't remember everything and it's better to have it all in one place.  Even better, print it out when you think you're done adding stuff to it. 
6.  Commiserate with friends.  They understand.
7.  You might feel really sad if your child is starting Kindergarten.  Get together with friends and do something fun!  Or just do something for yourself that you can't normally do when your child is home.  Like take a nap.  ;)
8.  As soon as you can, put all of your kids' teachers' email addresses in your contact list in your email.  It's better than shuffling through stuff to try to figure out who you need to email.  Our 9th and 7th graders have twelve teachers between the two of them and they received a syllabus from each of them with contact information.  I really don't want to keep those papers stacked on my desk the whole school year. 
9.  If they are old enough, have your kids make their own lunches.  It's harder for them to complain about what they made for themselves.  It also gets them in the habit for when they are on their own.  Of course, buying lunch is an option, but that gets expensive.
10.  Take some deep breaths and try to take a break from the chaos that is the beginning of school.

What do you do to cope with the beginning of school?  Last year my friend went to Hawaii with her husband and skipped all of the open houses.  I like her idea. 

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