Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to School: Here’s Hoping for a More Organized, Less Anxious Year

School starts next week.  Next week!  I am a ball of mixed emotions, much of which I am still processing (and will over-share here).

Right now, I’m going to direct my nervous energy on getting organized because I am going to be on Live in the D talking about my back to school tips.  (Here's the clip from the show - what do you think?)

With Thomas starting full day Kindergarten (please see mixed emotions above), I need to bring my A-game.  The mornings where Thomas would wear his PJ top under his coat and real pants to the bus stop and lounge around in this getup before his 12:30 start preschool are over.

Organization

Calling on my classroom teacher experience (I love when I can apply my degree to my mothering skills, right?!), procedures always increased the chance that the day would run smoothly (please note the word “chance” and not “certainty.”)

Here’s a morning chart for Thomas I found at I Heart Organizing.  I like the photos since he’s still learning to read.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


I couldn’t find the one with all the elements that I wanted for Marie, so I created my own in a word document inspired by Kiwi Crate.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


They are laminated so they can check off each item.  And guess what?  No screen time until every single item is completed. Last year, I sounded like Fay Dunaway yelling about wire hangers in Mommy Dearest when I screamed, “No more iPad time EVER!”  I decided to take a more proactive approach this year.

I also made similar after school charts that were inspired by both Design Dazzle and Kiwi Crate.



Last year, I was always forgetting what day Marie had library or gym.  I found this chart at Living Locurto.  Amy uses a new one for each week, but I decided to laminate it so if the weekly schedule changes, I can just update it with the markers.

All of these elements are here with the wall mounted file holders and cup tot hold markers inspired again by Living Locurto.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


I wanted to put all of this by their desk, but we didn’t have enough space.  So I used the bulletin board we already had to post fun, inspirational notes for the kids.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


I also use baskets to divide up supplies, but if I had limited drawer space, I would use a desktop organizer.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d



Weekday Dinners/School Lunches

Packing lunches and making dinners are a huge component of going back to school and can be a huge source of anxiety for me.  I use this recipe for dinner when I am in a rush and can use change it up for lunch next day.

I take a box of black beans that are rinsed and drained.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


I take a container of salsa and drain if it is too wet.  Sweet Onion by Garden Fresh is our favorite.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d



I mix them together.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


Put then in a tortilla and microwave.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


Add cheese and roll up.  Dinner is served!


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


For lunch, I take the black bean salsa and put it in a Gladware container and add chips and cheese (in a silicon baking up inspired by my favorite food blogger 100 Days of Real Food.  Sidebar – so excited to have her new cookbook and find more healthy ideas for lunches).

Then I add some fruit and veggies (cucumbers are the kids’ favorite).  I also add some walnuts and chocolate chips and then a treat.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d
See this pink bento box?  I bought it 3 years ago at Pottery Barn.
I use it almost every day.  It was totally worth the investment.



Easing Anxiety

Back to school anxiety was a huge issue for us last year.  I used essential oils in a roller balls and it really helped.  My favorite is Peace and Calming from YoungLiving. 

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


I put about 20 drops in an 8mL rollerball and fill it half way with a carrier oil.  (I used olive oil to avoid any nut oils).

Wrap it up in paper towel and put in a snack bag.  Marie would use it whenever she felt nervous.

When she started preschool and kindergarten, I added a family photo to her backpack and that was really helpful.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d
I think that Christmas photo would make anyone smile, right?!


And if I am going to be honest, I have a little anxiety with school starting.  I miss having time to do fun things with them without the pressures of school! swim! T-ball!

This year, since both of the kids will officially be spending more time at school than with me (again, please see mixed emotions), I am going to commit one weekday night for family fun.  Nothing fancy or complicated, just a half an hour or so with some Uno cards or a puzzle and popcorn.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings back to school live in the d


 I am thinking that this may ease everyone's anxiety feeling connected to each other. I don't want to stop making fun memories together just because school has started!


Do you have any back to school tips?  Do you worry about feeling disconnected from your kids in the wake of commitments?

*I have not been compensated for the use of any of these products.

2 comments:

Bee said...

I, too, have many mixed emotions as I send off a 5th grader, a 4th grader and a preschooler. I'm not much of chart person, though I sometimes envy those who are, and I am a fan of whatever works. Mornings can be awful. Thanks for sharing some good ideas.

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