I loathe to admit it, but summer “vacation” is coming to an end. For parents, students and pretty much everyone around the globe whether you have kids or not. In this final push, before the first school bell rings, some serious adulting is going down. I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to get overwhelmed with getting organized and back on track for managing that school/extracurricular/volunteer work hustle, while simultaneously managing my business as a multidisciplinary entrepreneur.
In the interest of staying sane and somewhat organized (as much as I might like to fly by the seat of my pants), I’m sharing a few hacks and tips to ensure everyone’s school year starts off on the right foot …
(1) Deep Clean + Purge // I know, I know. I didn’t say anything about this being easy or fun, did I? Although, it feels damn good to clear out rooms and embrace a more minimalist approach when it comes to what kids need in their spaces, or how many toys/clothes they need. Think about your own spaces too! This has been a big goal for our family over the summer, and I’ve tackled my home office that triples as a workout space and art/maker studio for both myself and the kids as well as their bedrooms. Speaking of less is more, I’m a big fan of spending more on quality, statement pieces that stand up to the rigors of kid-life, and do double time in their usage. My daughter loves her fringed Pendleton Chief Joseph shawl and it’s a prime example of this. She’s used it all summer long at Pow Wows and festivals to wrap herself in, dance in, sit on and sleep with. Since it’s made of wool, it wipes clean easily, is breathable, and wicks moisture away for those chilly/damp mornings. When we’re home she puts it right on her bed and it’ll be what I wrap around her shoulders for her early morning acro classes in the fall. I triple love that I know it will last throughout the years and can be something she passes onto her own kids (if she chooses to have ’em!).
(2) Shift From Summer-Low-Gear to School-Year-High-Gear // We let things slide during the summer. When they’re not attending a camp, it’s late nights around the bonfire, or camping or at a cottage, or watching movies and the sleep-ins are luxurious, (for them … That’s when this mama gets some of her work done.) So in this last week before school, we’re easing back into a regular bedtime and waking up routine. We spend some time doing academics each day just to get back into that vibe and you bet I’ve taken care of extra-curricular sign-ups on time. It’s taken me SEVEN YEARS, but I’m officially not failing in that department anymore. To that end, I was careful to not over-schedule our time, there is just no need. Family time is the best time.
(3) Making Healthy Lunches They’ll Actually Eat // Hands down, my kids favourite type of lunch is finger food. And while I don’t entertain this mode for every lunch, I switch things up a bit and we go litterless like this:
➤ from sandwiches to wraps rolled up and cut into bite size pieces, along with bite size pieces of fruit and veggies with dips I know they like
➤ heated leftovers in thermoses and their absolute fav, white mac and cheese once a week, with the addition of peas and carrots
➤ they’re old enough to help make their own lunches now which means being a part of the shopping process too
➤ I take the time to make homemade snacks that will fit in their containers keeping their lunches litterless, delicious and still healthy (we’ve been using Lunchbot containers going on 7 years strong now, from the same batch I ordered when my first started kindergarten!)
➤ This prana balls recipe (I make them into bars more often than not, it’s faster) is one of our family’s favourite snacks, is simple to make (no bake!), nut-free and full of raw energy and protein!
(4) Order The Must Haves Online // Obviously, I’m not a complete meanie. I mean, after all, kids feet grow and stuff. Where we live … winter gets hella wet and cold. Gone are the days of purchasing quality rain boots (that don’t leak) AND winter boots. The waterproof Snowy Owl and Gatherer Mukluks for kids are incredible. They’re cute, warm (sheepskin lined, rated to -32ºC!) durable, multi-purpose and waterproof — did I mention that water literally beads up and rolls off of them?! The suede AND leather waterproof ones?! I know. You’re welcome. I have a mom-pair because Autumn and tall boots go together like apple pie and cinnamon. It’s a thing. Bonus that I’m supporting an Indigenous owned and operated business and that they’ll take me right through winter. I can slide them on in a flash without socks to drop them at school, run errands, go to a meeting, do a family photo shoot at the pumpkin patch (because matching!), or attend a work-related event. There aren’t many boots that serve up fashion AND function, reppin’ my culture and heritage like these. ‘Nuff said.
(5) Chill Out and Be Love // Going back to school can be stressful for kids too. If you’re stressed, that will affect how they feel. Have a play date if possible with some of their school pals, engage in conversation with your kids about what they’re excited or nervous about. Find out who their teacher is going to be if possible and update your technology to include kid-friendly meditation, STEAM focused, self-regulating and story-time apps. Our top-in-rotation are: Peace-Out – relaxation and mindfulness stories for kids (podcast), Amaziograph, Book Creator, Kodable, and Lightbot Hour.
About The Author
Selena creates digital content and art, shares stories, wrangles children and cooks delicious food. When the chaos permits, she’s a 4 seasons gardener and permaculture enthusiast. A perpetual dabbler, she has been known to freelance as a brand designer and stylist, artisan, and body positive coach. Clearly, she doesn’t like rules, but she really likes kids and helping other women get organized, cultivate self-confidence and time to nurture themselves. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.