I’m not the most organized person, so when my kids were younger, I usually started out the school year with a bang but fizzled out as the year went on. Here are a few hacks that seemed like a good idea but needed revisions midway through the year.
Hack #1: Teach your kids how to pack their own lunches.
Eventually my kids were old enough to pack their own lunches, so I purchased the necessary ingredients for sandwiches, etc. After checking their work a few mornings in a row, I was satisfied that they were making adequate choices for their noontime meal. As the year progressed, I was amazed with how quickly they were getting their lunches put together in the morning. I mentally patted myself on the back – not only had they gained a new skill set, but they were getting more proficient at it. Mom for the win! Just after Easter that year, however, I noticed that we were getting more and more emails asking parents NOT to let their kids bring junk food to school. This seemed obvious to me. I couldn’t imagine who was letting their kids do that.
Apparently, I was the one letting her kids do that.
No wonder my kids kept talking about the things that other kids had in their lunchboxes: They had been trading food the entire year! (Chocolate bunny ears have high value on the black market-trading of school lunches, by the way.) My kids were making out like bandits! Other mothers who lovingly provided organic juice boxes and hand-crafted lunches were feeding my kids unknowingly while “no high-fructose-corn-syrup Johnny” was getting expired Ho-Hos from Mike’s Discount Foods in exchange.
HACK # 1 REVISION: Always question what’s in your kid’s packed lunches. Always.
Hack #2: Have your kids medication bottles out and ready the night before.
A parent I know, in the chaos of the first day of school, mistook one green lid for the other on the medication bottles and accidentally gave his twins Benadryl instead of Zyrtec. It made their first day of 2nd grade memorable as one of them nearly fell asleep at his desk while the other twin was “yawning a lot.” They powered through.
HACK #2 REVISION: Clearly label similar-looking medications!
Hack #3: Convince your kids to bathe regularly with speeches about cleanliness.
This was always a struggle with our boys, but then one of our kids mysteriously stopped fighting us on the bathing aspect of his life and started showering regularly. It turns out a classmate told him he stunk, which turned his life around. I don’t know why we hadn’t considered this before – there were all kinds of things we could have tweaked had we known his friends had such power! We never did coerce his friends into telling him more things to improve upon – it was too late in the game for us – but it’s not too late for you!
HACK #3 REVISION: If you really want your kids to change their ways, have a classmate do your bidding.
Hack #4: Meticulously buy all the school supplies on the school-produced list.
One year when my son was about 11-years old, he carried all of his school supplies in his backpack to the first day of school. Believe it or not, 90% of those school supplies were still in his backpack on the last day of school. I wish I were joking. He had simply never bothered taking them out! Who knows where he got his needed supplies; probably from his poor teacher who bought them with her own meager finances. Dear Lord…
HACK #4 REVISION: Treat the teachers really, really well. Also, check your kids backpack from time to time, even when they’re older.
Hack #5: When your kids go off to school, don’t fill all of your time with more things to say “yes” to.
It feels good to get stuff done, but in all seriousness, take some time to just be. If your house is suddenly quiet for a few hours, use some of that time to read a book or paint a picture; maybe go to the gym or take a nap. You’ve been going, going, going for a long time, mom. It’s okay to recharge your batteries and take care of YOU for a change.
No hack revision needed.
Tami Glendenning is a wife to Jonathan and mom to Ian, Max and Ben. She is also a piano teacher, crafter and avid book reader.