Back to school. The time of year parents seem to rejoice.
I am not quite at that stage yet, but let me tell you, I am not so sure about this whole back to school thing.
My oldest daughter turned four on Sunday and then started Pre-K on Monday. We had a weekend full of fun activities. This left us totally unprepared for what Monday morning would bring. My husband went to the grocery store at 9 pm Sunday night, mainly to get items for her lunches. I stayed home and did any and all prep work I could. This included page upon page of registration information, release forms, and a sheet about my kid.
My favorite question was “What motivates your child?” My answer? Well, it was maybe a little too truthful. I said “Recognition of a job well done and threatening to take toys, items, etc away when she misbehaves.”
Hey, at least I know my kid!
As I sat at work on Monday morning after all of the kerfuffle had come to an end, I asked my normally prepared self where I went wrong. And then it dawned on me. I didn’t prepare, at all.
These are the 5 areas I would prepare to go back to school:
When I see school supplies come out at Target in July I always get mad. Why? Because summer has just started! The 4th of July hits and then…Bam! Back to school.
I chastise Target in my heart for taking away my summer.
But as I scrambled to get my daughters back to school items together, I asked myself “Why didn’t I get school supplies in July?”
And then I realized those retailers were onto something. Purchasing her needed school supplies in advance ensured she would have all of the necessary supplies.
On Sunday afternoon, I mentioned to my husband that we should go to the mall so our daughter could get her Princess Jasmine costume and a couple of shirts for the new school year. My daughter has clothes coming out of her ears so it wasn’t like she needed new clothes, but I thought it would be nice for school.
I learned that everyone goes back to school shopping the day before school starts. The mall was a mad house.
Next year, just like the school supplies, I am getting our back to school shopping done at least a week ahead of time.
Do you want to know how many times I went to the grocery store in a three day period? Four times. Four.
Did I think ahead to the following week when I went to the store? If you said no, then you would be right. When I went to the store those four times, I went with the specific intent of getting items for her party. I was not thinking about the week ahead.
I really think that it’s time schools begin to rethink this paperwork.
How many times do I have to fill out the same emergency info?
Or release for pictures?
Or, or, or.
It took me a total of 45 minutes to fill out all of the appropriate paperwork. Any guesses on what information was different than last year? None of it.
I get that this is extremely important information. In hindsight, I should have taken the time to review the information several days before I was to turn it in. But I can’t be the only one who puts this paperwork off to the last minute. Next year, I plan to do a little better. Maybe two days before.
School can be wonderful, but it can also be full of new adventures and cruel kids. I didn’t even have a chance to talk to her about what she might encounter. I didn’t talk with her about being brave and being kind.
Next year, before she starts Kindergarten, I plan on taking her on a special mommy daughter date and preparing her little heart for what she may encounter at her new school.
Back to School is Not for the Faint of Heart
My child is only in pre-k and I am already feeling the heat of back to school. I like to be prepared and organized. Clearly having a child in the summer months and right before school will start will always be an issue. Being prepared for the start of the school year is extremely important. Recognizing this, I plan on doing better next year.
What did you prepare for (or forget to prepare for) in sending your kid(s) back to school? What do you want to do better next year?
Here’s to the Journey!
Stephanie German is a coach and freelance writer specializing in productivity, intentional living, and leadership. She is passionate about helping others learn to thrive in the busyness of life. She’s married and has her hands full with 2 little ones.