Here we are at the end of another summer. A great summer gone by too fast because it was filled with camp, travels, work, fun, play and very little down time. It’s definitely not easy to watch it end, but the memories created and the stories that can be told will hopefully make the transition back to school a little softer.
Yes, here we are, all parents united. It is Back to School season and we thought that since we, the owners of Evolve Toys are also parents to our three in-house toy testers, we can share with you how we are making our back to school transition as easy as possible.
For us Back to School also means the start of different extra-curricular activities for each one of our girls, so the number one action we decided to take was to purchase a large white board calendar, that hangs in our kitchen. Now every member of our family has access to who is doing what on which day of the week and at what time. Thanks to this calendar we can easily start scheduling which parent drives which kid to their specific activity. This calendar allows each member of our family to fill it in with upcoming appointments, birthday parties, playdates and other events or outings.
Scheduling our weekly dinners ahead of time is also key for us. And you’ve guessed it, we’ve decided to write our weekly meal plan onto our family calendar. Our goal is to have it all scheduled for the week ahead by Saturday end of day. This also includes the kids’ lunches.
Knowing our meals for the week ahead means that we buy the bulk of our groceries by Sunday mid-day. Then everyone can help put groceries away and assist with any meal prepping, like cutting veggies and fruit, on Sunday afternoon. We’re not saying that this will eliminate grocery runs during the week, but it will surely make them minimal.
With the busy summer that we’ve had, our kids’ bedtimes and bedtime routines weren’t enforced. Getting them back on track slowly is crucial. We don’t expect our kids to jump into bed at their specific bedtime the night before school starts. That would never work. For us, getting them back on track means starting a slow progression a week before school starts. We’ve also established, that bedtime includes up to half an hour (depending on which child) of quiet time before actually closing their eyes and falling asleep. Quiet time, like reading or colouring. No iPhone or tablet allowed.
Another important step that we take as school begins is making sure that our girls lay out their clothes for the next day and organize their backpacks the night before. Our days start really early and we need to be out the door before we know it. Getting the kids up and out of bed, washed up, dressed and fed isn’t always easy. Having to decide what they’re wearing and throwing stuff into their backpacks last minute eats up time and can cause tension and even leads to fighting. Best way to steer clear of that is organizing everything - lunches too, which the girls help with - the night before.
This year, we’ve also decided that since our girls are all old enough they each need to help out with household chores. We started them off slowly at the end of the summer. With the promise of an allowance at the end of the week, they were all eager to help. Now that school is here, we’ve decided to make it a little more official. We’ve created a list of chores. Each chore is associated with a point system. Each child must accumulate a certain amount of points to earn their allowance, which is really dictated by their age. We know that the creation of a list of chores doesn’t really ease the transition to back to school, but implementing it now sets the tone for the school year ahead and what is excepted of each child.
As we’ve started implementing some of these actions to have a smoother Back to School, we are also realistic. We’re well aware that sometimes things won’t go as smoothly as we planned and hoped, which requires us parents to be patient, understanding not only with children, but with ourselves as well. After all, life happens.