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Challenge: Back to School

10 Tips for Back To School: Can I get an AMEN!

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The Summer of 2015 was a long journey for me. I am a work from home mother of three who has spent that past few weeks dreaming of the new school year. Now that the 2015 school year is almost here, I can barley contain myself. Here are 10 survival tips for new-to-school Mommies.

1. School supplies: The list of school supplies may seem daunting. If you are wondering why Kindergartners need so many Ziplock bags, I assure you, they will use them. If possible by back up school supplies. If you find anything BOGO, that is a no-brainer…..BUY IT! They will run out at some point in the year and you can send in fresh supplies. Best part, you paid the sales prices.

2. Classroom Allergies: With so many kids having so many different allergies, make sure to know if your child's class has any of the major food allergies, such as the dreaded peanut allergy. I was "That Mom" last year, who brought in cookies for the class, and right on the package was the warning label: “This product was produced in the same machines as products containing peanuts.” My daughter gave me the evil-eye as I walked the cookies straight out the classroom and back to the minivan.

3. Parent Pick-up: If you will be driving your child to school, remember that parent drop off and pick up is a form of purgatory. The lines never seem to get any shorter and you will begin to notice that the radio stations play the same songs at the same time every single day. Try to find a car pool group, or let your child take the bus. If you think back 30 years ago, most of us rode the bus. We all survived the experience, and are most likely better for it.

4. Homework: Things are a bit different in the homework department these days. My daughter came home from kindergarten last year with a weekly homework packet. Each night we had to do specific pages and a certain amount of reading. Sign the log, the agenda, the workbook, etc. The homework never ends and I finally realized that I needed to set a specific time each day to get it done. There will be a day when you wake up to get the kids ready ad you forgot to check their homework. Life goes on, write a note, and DO NOT SWEAT IT. They will have more homework the next day.

5. Dress Code: My kids go to a school with a uniform. I LOVE IT. I am a fan of anything that makes my life easier. If your kids get to pick their outfits, I suggest you let them wear whatever they want, as long as it follows the dress code. There are no prizes for best dressed in elementary school, and it will help keep your sanity. The morning are chaotic, let them dress themselves. I promise that no matter what they wear, they will make it through the day. Polka dots and stripes are a perfect combination at 5 years old.

6. Brown bag or lunch line: I pack my kids lunches three days a week. They are allowed to buy lunch twice a week. School lunch has gotten a bit pricey, but they like pizza and chicken nugget day. It also gives me two days where I don't have to make lunches. Whatever choice you make, it will be the right one. If you forget to pack and lunch, DON’T SWEAT IT, the school will feed your child. They will also send you a bill :)

7. School Forms: Be prepared to fill out all school forms in triplicate. You will also need a DNA, urine, and blood sample. Make sure to have a light bill, your social security card, and be prepared to do a retina scan. Just kidding, but it seems that way when you are in the middle of filling out so many forms.

8. Pictures: Make sure to take a picture on the first day of school each year. I am not the most sentimental person in the world, but it is great to look back and see how much they have grown from year to year. If you are really on top of things, print the pictures out and put them in frames. Most of my frames have the stock photos they came with still in them.

9. Backpacks and Sneakers: These two items will be very important through the year. Kid grow so fast, and like my Dad says, “Things just aren’t made like the same way they use to be.” Buy a good sturdy canvas backpack. Kids love the character backpacks, but the zippers always break, and they are overpriced. Elsa caused me some major grief last year. I also recommend buying two pairs of sneakers at the same time. I found a pair of Sketchers that my son loves, so we bought them in the next size up as well. Your child will run the rubber right off the bottoms of those sneakers by December. Guaranteed!

10. Routine: Try your best to set up a routine for your morning. I have found that my children only want to sleep in on school days. They can be very hard to wake up. I go into each bedroom, turn on the lights, and sing at the top of my lungs until I hear them getting out of bed. A bad morning can ruin your day. To avoid that, i Try to keep backpacks, sneakers, and school essentials in the same place. I have hooks for each of my kids backpacks, and a shoe rack at the front door. There WILL be a day when someone can’t find their shoes. When that happens, I load the other kids in the car while the lost shoe is located. If said shoe cannot be found, we put on another shoe. I have dropped my youngest son off to school with two different shoes. He survived and so did I.

The new school year is an exciting time. Your children need the educational and social benefits that come with the glorious invention known as school. Weather you send your children to public or private school, know that you will both survive. You will forget to bring in class snacks, attend parent conferences, complete homework, send lunch money, drop off doctor notes, and many other things, but you will endure. So relax, take a deep breath, and do a happy dance when you drop off your child on the first day. Break out the cabbage patch, running man, the sprinkler, and go to town, like you just scored the winning touch down in the Superbowl! You survived the summer, now time to tackle the school year.

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