Maybe it’s just me, but the end of August has me hearing the siren song of the back-to-school angels. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when school finally lets out and through those months of June and all through July, we’ve had the best of times – excited and ambitious to get through our ‘summer bucket list.’ At least one or two of us loved getting to sleep in late (630am?), not having to worry about packing lunches, threatening each other with kitchen utensils at the breakfast table or sitting on the stairs with head in hands (silently counting to ten) when unable to find a match to any of 90 pairs of socks. Thank you flip-flops.
Now that we’re settled (we moved into a new house in the spring), we’ve been able to breath deeper and feel focused. We’ve had some great times visiting the local museums..
Hit the pool and beach…
…and made some new additions to the family… ladies and gentlemen – Katy & Purry (featured in reverse order). Two amazing rescues “owned” by one very determined little girl. (BTW thanks to Clorox for helping me to clean up this zoo at the end of every day…)
But as we close out the month of August – the call always comes in.
It’s time to put the fedora up in the closet, throw out the fancy pastries and go back to work. For Mason, it’s only preschool, however, combining his schedule with that of a 2nd-grader (Ava) and a Kindergartener (Charlie), we’ve got a handful of ducks to get in a row before the Labor Day Holiday comes to a close.
THIS is the list that Jen and I use to get prepared for that first day…
- Well-Check and Vaccination update – Most, if not all, schools require this paperwork before admittance. We’ve chosen to modify our vaccination schedule, however, still coordinate closely with the school nurse to make sure that it doesn’t put other children at risk. Filling out the form is the easy part – getting them to sit still when the nurse and/or doctor comes in is the real adventure.
Only some schools require dental visits, but regardless this time of year always reminds us how important it is to get the kids in for a dental check-up – inspiring healthy daily dental hygiene is of paramount importance! Below, you’ll see a demonstration of my cross-bite.
- Readjust Bedtimes – We’ve been having a great time introducing our kids to some of our favorite movies from the 80’s, however, the 11pm bedtime is beginning to take its toll on them AND us. We are slowly moving the clock earlier and earlier so they can be ready to rock the 8pm nighty-night in a few weeks. (Score for mom and dad getting to watch Netflix uninterrupted!)
- Chore Chart – As proud graduates of Pre-K and 1st grade, we promised Ava ONE kitten (which ballooned into two) and Charlie a tortoise (didn’t realize it would live for 50 years). Part of their daily chores – aside from cleaning their rooms, making their beds and handling dirty laundry – is to take care of their animals. It always helps to have these things listed out of them to see.
- Name Tags/Labels – Each year, we update our stickers, attaching them to water bottles, rainboots, headphones, tablets and anything of importance that is either fought over or could be potentially misplaced or lost. These are waterproof and work on hard surfaces and on clothing/shoes.
- New Backpack/Special Pencil Box – We LOVE to use this company called MAD PAX and when their new backpacks arrive, it’s like a mini-Christmas. The pencil case is also important – getting them something they’re excited about only inspires a positive attitude when they sit down at their desk on the the first day. Don’t you all remember the amount of time that went into choosing the perfect Trapper Keeper??
- Safety Plan – We talk about who will be able to pick them up from school if they’re not taking the bus. We talk about what happens when a stranger approaches and make sure they’re aware of everyone that we know in the neighborhood – so they see this as a safe place in the event of danger. This past year we bought our children GPS tracking watches where they can message and call parents and caregivers–it’s been an added layer of comfort being able to see where they are at any moment of the day.
- Meet the Teacher – It’s important to make a special effort to meet your child’s teacher. Anyone that’s going to guide their education for the next several months is worth sitting down with for a few minutes and getting to know. We always take a small token start gift… there are some great websites out there where teachers can buy classroom supplies and printables and they always appreciate these gift cards–they get enough junk covered in apples to last a lifetime.
- Talk to Principal – Creating a personal relationship with the principal of your child’s school is one of the best things you can do – you never know when this will come in handy. We choose not to do homework in our home in elementary school and an open dialog with the principal is paramount. Another example is, we’d love our children to learn cursive, so making sure that we’re vocal about our child’s academic development (and placement) is crucial. Plus, you can offer a hand–parents have a responsibility to be involved–we want our teachers and principal to be able to call us any time for help. Except when football season starts.
- Buy Special Treats for Lunchbox – Jen and I always stock up on a handful of ‘blind boxes’ or tiny treats that are able to fit inside of their lunchboxes for special days. A special day might be a Friday OR maybe it’s just a day when they seem down or not wanting to go – opening up a treat from mom and dad with a little note can make all the difference.
- Extra Supplies – If we can manage to meet the teacher with enough time to shop before the first day, we always ask what he or she might need to help benefit the classroom. If we can find something that’s on sale, we’ll make the investment and donate it to the classroom. This season keep an extra special eye out for Clorox® and Glad® products – as with every $5 worth of qualifying products purchased, you save $1 and the Clorox Company will donate $1 to classrooms in need through DonorsChoose.org – go to www.CloroxForSchools.com to get started!
- Choose Clothes – A year or two ago, my wife created these incredible metal bins, each with their own weekday label. Every Sunday night, we set out the kids outfits for the upcoming week. This saves us undeniable time and innumerable fights in between breakfast and getting out the door each morning.
- DONATE – This is an important one… as back-to-school shopping commences so does the act of cleaning out the winter clothes from last year. There are likely HUNDREDS of needy families nearby who would love to take your hand-me-down coats, mittens and other cold weather items. Your local school will be able to point you in the right direction.
We hope this list helps you to get ready for the upcoming school year and when shopping, keep www.CloroxForSchools in mind and give back!