A conversation with a friend spurred me to ask 5 fantastic blogging Moms “How Do You Prep For the School Season”. All this week, I will be hosting a series of guest bloggers on the site and having them explain how they prepare their families for the upcoming school season. I am excited to have my friend Cassie of Hi Sugarplum! kick off the blog series!
Hello fabulous Courtney Out Loud readers! I’m Cassie of Hi Sugarplum!, and I’m thrilled to be guest posting today. Courtney and I have been carrying on a blog affair for quite some time, so I feel really at home here. I can only hope some of his charm, wit and mad-skills will rub off on me.
I have two kids, 5 and 10. My son considers himself a pro, as he’s entering 5th grade, and my daughter is starting Kindergarten.
I helped her get excited for this big change by creating a special place in her room to do schoolwork.
Not that she’ll have a lot of homework in the beginning, but she feels important having a work area like big brother.
And other than shopping for new backpacks, shoes and supplies, our biggest preparation for returning to school is a mental one. See, we take our family vacation the very last week of Summer Break. Typically we go to the beach with no friends or electronics…just the four of us spending time together. It’s a full week with no schedules, limited rules and no outside distractions. We all return relaxed and connected, and my goal is always to continue that feeling through the school year.
This means setting some firm (and selfish) boundaries, and sticking with them.
1. Limit Activities
My Son is allowed no more than two extra-curricular activities at a time…one sport and one musical instrument. Driving from place-to-place and out every night for practices is exhausting for all of us. And exhausted equals cranky and unhealthy.
2. Learn to Say ‘No’
This is a tough one for me. I’m a working-mom, so I have a fair amount of guilt that comes with it. Early on, I agreed to help in the classroom, chair committees for the PTA, cook food and do crafts. The requests are endless, and I was left feeling overwhelmed. Plus, all the extra stuff I was doing was taking me away from spending what little time I had with my kids. So I’ve learned to say, ‘No’ a larger percentage of the time. It’s not always easy, but the trade-off is a less-stressed mom, which is a nicer and more fun mom.
3. Make Family Time a Priority
Apart from sitting down to dinner together most nights, we are also fairly selfish about our weekends. My kids have plenty of friend time, but we don’t allow sleepovers and play dates every weekend. They don’t always love this, but if they are constantly gone, or someone else is always over, then we aren’t connecting and doing things as a family.
Soon enough, they’ll both be too old and too cool for Family Movie Night, but until then, I’m going to make sure we have every opportunity for one! I’d love to hear how you keep your house from getting chaotic during the school year. And are you as crazy about making sure your kids get enough sleep as I am? Thanks for having me, Courtney! Hopefully putting this in writing will help me stick to it!
Thank you Cassie and you are so right! Taking time out as a family is one of the best things you can do to ensure a fantastic and successful school year. Even if it is just a weekend at home, blocking time out with no distractions or visitors is a great way to not only have a small reprieve from the chaos of life but also give yourself the opportunity to be full present for your kids. However, what I love most is Cassie’s ability to say “No”. By effectively managing her time, she is able to spend more of it doing the things that are important to her. And you know what….a happy. stress-free Mom is the best kind of Mom in my book.
So tell me….do you and your family take some time to regroup right before school? Do you have a special place you love to go? Or better, have you learned the power of “No”? If so, leave a comment and share your experience.
Tomorrow Courtney from A Thoughtful Place with sharing how she kicks off the school with a little something for her children’s teachers.