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Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Shellie Ward

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I’m a Better Parent When School is In Session……

……at least in the beginning.  I love Back to School! Not just because I’m not picking up behind my kids all day, or that I’m not responsible for feeding them every two hours, or that I don’t have to find ways of keeping them occupied. Ok….perhaps those are the reasons. But BTS for me, as a parent, means a fresh start! By the end of the school year, I’m usually scrambling trying to hold on to what’s left of school uniforms that don’t have holes in the knees. I pray to the uniform gods that if those pants could just last a few more weeks, but then also hoping that my kid’s feet don’t grow until after school is out for the summer.

To all of the Northerners that are in shock that my kids are back in school in JULY, please don’t cry for me. Growing up in Virginia, we went back to school the day after Labor Day.  Honestly 10 weeks off is just enough to decompress, and start a new school year.  The benefit to our school calendar is that the kids get week long breaks throughout the school year.  There is a Fall Break, a full week for Thanksgiving, a longer Christmas break, and get this…..a “winter break” in February, as well as a traditional Spring Break.  By the end of the 10 weeks, my kids are ready to go back anyway.  Originally, the school year was built around the summer harvest, and later around the lack of air conditioning in buildings.  (Most of the school that I attended didn’t have A/C!…even high school!) I say all of that to say, it’s OK to do it differently, and actually it works out great!

During those 10 weeks of summer vacation, our household gets out of whack!  The kids go to bed late and wake up even later. Even though Haven had to be at golf camp at 8, she woke up at 7:15. However during the school year she has to be at school at 8, but we have to be up by 6:30 am so that she and her sister can eat a decent breakfast, and hair is neater, and arrive to school with time to spare.

When the kids are in school, it forces me to plan so that the day will flow.  I usually have meals cooked for the week by Monday, or I cook the morning of, or crockpot it! (I know…I just used crockpot as a verb!) Because the girls swim every day,  it saves on time. If I waited to cook when we got home, they wouldn’t eat until almost 8 pm!  When swim practice is over, they are STARVING!  As soon as we get home, the girls eat, work on homework (we usually try to knock out homework in the car), read, shower and go to bed! Fridays we eat pizza, and it is our evening of “no routine”.

Proper planning will help the family run efficiently and just makes life easier for everyone. Kids love it when they know what to expect next.  Things such as getting clothes and under garments ready for the week and in my case, towels and swimsuits as well.  Plan your meals as well as snacks for after school. It takes a while to get your rhythm, so don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away.   I ALWAYS forget something, but the one thing that I have learned and I tell folks this all of the time…

Either it will work out, or it will work out!

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