Monday 24 August 2015

Back to School in 3 Sleeps

Those 8 weeks stretched out in front of us; gloriously long and impossibly decadent.

Then August appeared.  Just like that.  Still loads of time though.  Be grand.  I had a list of about ten things we could do as a family during the weekends over the holidays.  It’s safe to say that list is still perfectly intact.

Then it was two weeks.  The phone started to ring and invites for play dates and birthday parties and sleep overs rained down on us.  Seemed everyone else had the same idea; pack in as much as you can now as it’s about to come to an end.

I was loathe to ruin their last few weeks with talk of a back to school countdown but they did need to be prepared.  So last Monday I told them it was their last week.

I neglected to say “last full week” which led them to believe they were back in school today.  Mini crisis over, the re-reassurance they still have three (two now) days left, all the same, they carry black clouds over them. 

I remember the feeling well so I am sympathetic and empathetic in equal measure.  I hope.

It ain’t easy.  For everyone involved.  The first week is going to be tough as we all adjust to being put back on schedule, new teachers, a different curriculum, unfamiliar classroom and the dreaded lunchboxes.

Here’s a few tips to help ease us all back into the new school year.

In keeping with establishing a semi decent bedtime again, do loads of stuff with them this week.  The intent is twofold.  It will take their minds off Thursday morning and tire them out so there won’t be too many complaints when bedtime arrives half an hour earlier than usual.

Check the lunchboxes.  The last thing you want the night before is to discover the cracked and lidless container you intended to replace, has not been replaced because it was put into the cupboard 8 weeks ago and forgotten about.  Has anyone seen the water bottles?  Anyone? Anyone?  Anyone?

Check the fridge for supplies.  The thing about starting back later in the week could very well mean Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is bare.  No yogurts.  There is one slice of ham left.  The fruit flies have claimed the apples in the fruit bowl with teeth marks in them.  Two heels of bread in the empty wrapper definitely won’t work.  Would they take dry cereal?

Make sure there’s petrol in the car.  Seems crazy?  Nope.  Crazy is forgetting to fill her up when you are ten months pregnant.  But this one can happen too.  No-one needs that kind of pressure first morning back to school.

Maybe get them to pull on their school jumpers and shoes the week beforehand too.  Kids all over the country are currently eating rings round themselves.  It’s called a summer growth spurt.  Although if the worst does happen and the jumpers don’t fit, chances are there will be a mini Indian summer on the first day and the kids will be fine wearing just shirts.

Get some backup.  This one is for you not the kids. Arrange to go for a coffee after the kids have been dropped off.  Or you could go home and stand in your hallway.  I plan on doing this one.  I am going to stand there, listen to and absorb that blessed silence.  I will also offer up a silent prayer that the phone does not ring with an instruction to collect an hysterical child from somewhere.  Then I intend to strap on my runners and go for a run.

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