I remember it like yesterday; It was May, my family couldn’t wait for summer vacation. Their excitement inspired me and left me feeling hopeful. I daydreamed of spending quality time with my children, swimming, picnicking, you know, all the good things you hear about. To my dismay, their misleading excitement quickly wained once we approached week three. But how?!I wondered. We were spending our days at the beach, playing in the ocean. We laughed, splashed in the water, ate hot dogs by the fire, and loved our time together. How could my children be unsatisfied?! Fast forward to week four. The kids were fighting with each other, complaining how bored they were, saying they had nothing to do. They somehow watched every movie we own. I was hitting the vodka, disguised with lemonade. Not really… but I was certainly thinking about it. Bedtimes were non-existence. It stayed light so late! Does the sun ever go down?!I soon realized I could not afford to take them to the movies everyday, or the lake. But what can we do?!We can’t stay at home! My saving grace was the pool. God was good when he created the pool. The kids stayed cool, got exercise, and tired out just in time for bedtime.
Their full-blown summer boredom got me thinking about the light at the end of the tunnel: school. Soon, they will be back at school! But wait, another hurdle ahead: returning my children to “school mode.” Well, now they will no longer complain of nothing to do, thanks to the valuable set of baby-steps and secret tools I’ve acquired over the years to aid in the sluggish, resistant transition. I am here to share those valuable steps with you: Start by having them read a little everyday. Teen book series as great these days! Even I find myself indulging in series like The Divergent Series, The Hunger Games, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, to name a few. Play a lot of board games that utilize basic math and reading comprehension. Anything that makes their little brains start working and thinking is a great boredom-buster and school mode enhancer. Even a trip to the zoo is educational! Take advantage of the extra education perks like information boards that describe the animals. Have everyone read them aloud and discuss the cool, fun facts about their favorite zoo dwellers. Now that boredom has turned into an opportunity to learn, onto the next hurdle; the dreaded back to school clothes and accessory shopping. I, personally, had no idea how many types of pens, pencils, paper, erasers, and paste, existed until I had children. Of course, the importance of a sparkly pen in ten different shades varies from grade school, pre-high school, and high school, (but then it’s something else, isnt it?).
Warning! You need to have lists in hand when embarking on any type of pre-school shopping adventure. This is essential. One-stop shopping is great and seemingly pain-free. But is it realistic?! Many stores are running specials this time of year. So, I recommend stocking up on things like paper, pencils and binders, because you will need more throughout the school year, and no one appreciates the hysteria that ensues at 9 P.M. when a project is due the next morning and you do not have a gel pen in sea foam green with construction paper to match. Also, make sure your child approves any backpacks, notebooks, or binders you buy for them. They know what is “in style” after all, who are you?! Otherwise, it will sit in a corner of the bedroom, hiding. Whatever you do, do not try and guess what your pre-teen or teenager likes. Bring them along for the “fun.” This will only make it more interesting. Otherwise you will find yourself standing in the return line, along with all the others sad mothers that have failed their children tremendously. Now, for the slightly less-predictable crowd: Teens. These creatures are a whole different world. Their paper, pens, binders, etc., all have to be “cool”, and express their ever-changing personality. Sigh, and believe me, you do not know it. You may think you do, but you don’t.
Don’t forget lunches. Decide ahead if your children will bring or buy. Believe it or not, there are tons of lunch box/sacks available. You can stick with the familiar lunch box with a metal clasp, retor is in now, right?!Or, maybe you kids want to match their backpack, or maybe the metal clasps are only cool for grades 2,4 and 6 and your child is in grade 7. Of course, it may now be the “in thing” with high schoolers, too. One never knows, so again, bring your teen. After all of the fighting and hassling that comes with getting back to school items and the last few weeks of “the most boring summer of their lives” according to the kids) the first morning of school comes way too fast. Mom or Dad, now has the task of getting everyone up, fed, and out the door on time for the first day. Alarms are going off, parents are shouting to get up, covers are being thrown off sleeping bodies. All the preparation seems null and void, because no one seems to be moving on time. Doors are slamming, water is running, yelling back and forth is now the morning ritual. Gone are the leisurely mornings of sitting with a cup of coffee before everyone else is up. Everyone is finally gone. The house is eerily silent.
School is back. Ahhhhhh.