Earlier this week, my kids started at their after school program. They attend four days a week from the end of the school day at 3:15 PM to 6:00 PM when my husband or I pick them up. It’s a long day for the two of them but they love it. When I arrived home from work the other night, they were already in their pajamas, bubbling over about their adventures of their day, playing soccer with friends and getting used to the new routine of after school.
I was happy to see them so joyful about school and after school, and it got me thinking about how I could make those good feelings last throughout the school year. I came up with four ideas:
- Get organized: My Type A tendencies are fairly high, but this summer, I fell way behind in paperwork, to dos, and the systems that run our house. I could get away with it because it was summer, and the beach was calling. But now that it’s back to school time? I have to get on top of everything, so I spent hours this weekend going through our home office, recycling old notices from school, cleaning out tote bags and purses, and generally putting us in tip-top shape. It feels good! And, my promise this school year is to put aside a few minutes each day to make sure we don’t fall behind again.
- Stay on top of the artwork: I have two enormous piles of my kids’ artwork from the past three years sitting on the floor of my house. I get points for keeping everything, but the time has come to purge. There are only so many scribbles a Mom can keep. Going through three years of artwork all at once is no fun, so this year, I am taking care of my kids’ masterpieces each day by snapping a quick photo of the items when I take them out of their backpacks. Then, I’ll take those photos and use one of those user-friendly apps to make a photo book of their beautiful creations. (Oh, and those three years of artwork? I’ll — someday soon, I hope — make those into a photo book, too, keeping just a few select pieces and recycling the rest.)
- Talk (and listen) more: My kids are awful at telling me about their days. Or, maybe it’s that I’m not skilled in getting them to talk about their days? (“How was school? Good. What did you do? Nothing. Who did you play with? No one.”) Since I’m the adult in this relationship, it’s my responsibility to engage them more. This year, I’m rolling out new ways to get them to talk. I may even implement my Mom’s go-to question of “who was absent today?” It drove me crazy when she asked me this every day in elementary school, but it got me talking!
- Involve the kids in making their lunches and snacks: The kids snuck this one up on me: they asked to help pack their lunches and snacks. They asked to help pack their lunches and snacks. Yes, I wrote that twice: it’s that notable. I love that they want to help (perhaps this inspired them?), and, this year, I’m going to give them more responsibility by asking for their help each day. It’ll be a good way to get them thinking and talking about healthy eating.
What do you think? Can I do this? Keep your fingers crossed, and happy back to school!
Tell me in the comments: what are you doing differently this school year?