Tag: ideas for back to school

The author’s first day of kindergarten. c. 1970

Here we go. The big kick off. For the kids it is the end of  lazy days and sleeping in and endless time with friends and elongated road trips and boredom and movies galore and midnight bedtimes (or later) and long stretches of time to read and draw and having it be possible to be invited over to someone’s house at 8:00 at night and the answer being yes, we can go.

It’s back to school time and it crescendo’ed today with Meet the Teacher day and school supplies delivered and classrooms found and the new playground unveiled. The monthly bus pass has been purchased for the oldest. The trumpet was found on Craigslist for the next. The desired teacher was gotten for the third and the new playground was enough to convince the youngest that everything would be okay.

This year is a biggie for us. We’ll have three different schools and schedules. And growing kids who don’t necessarily need our help  but might sometimes want it anyway.

It’s going to take some real good communication and intentions and calendar checks and coordinating and did I say communication? to keep it all cool, calm, collected and connected.

So here, in no particular order are eleven things I’m going to try to do this year to make sure we all get what we need from the world and from each other too…

1. Stay present to the ones I’m with.  This is a biggie. Love the one I’m with. Phone down, tasks paused, eyes on the prize and in this case, the prize being the person who is standing in front of me.

2. Stay present to the task at hand. Driving? Drive. Cooking? Cook. Writing? Write. Socializing? Socialize. Playing? Play. You get the point.

3. Screen-free times. In the house for the whole family, we will have set hours that are screen-free. I’m thinking 5-7 should work. With a 6:00 exemption for homework reasons. No phones, tv, computer, etc. Screen-free.  We did it last year and it was really great. We got off that bandwagon this summer though.

4. Electronics-free alone time. Walk. Meditation. Swim. Read. Etc. Be alone. Truly alone. Not alone but with virtual friends. Not alone but talking on the phone. Alone. Truly alone. With my own thoughts and ideas. Everyday at least.

5. Listen more. Fix less. My tendency has been to rush in with answers. My goal with my growing children is to listen more and let them work most of it out through talking it out. And I’ll be more likely to sense the real need as opposed to just the words that are stated.

6. Ask before I do offer advice. Not just to my kids but to people in general. Before I offer advice I’ll ask if it’s wanted. “Want my input?” It’s a simple question that will take some practice to make a part of my day-to-day.

7. Pre-planned playdates. Sure there will be after school playdates but they will be planned ahead of time. The on-the-fly playdates tweak me and tweak the balance of the household. Exceptions only in emergencies. With this will also be minimized sleep-overs. Sleep-overs tweak the kids and tweak the family more. The next day we usually all pay. Planned ahead and minimized.

8. Dates with my husband. These should be easier to come by this year. Daytime dates are fun. (editor’s note: this one’s no longer valid but I left it in to remind me to connect with him regularly. We are not a couple but we are still parents of these kids of ours.)

9. Alone time once a month with each child. This is sometimes tricky to accomplish but I think setting it up ahead of time will be the key. On the calendar it goes. It doesn’t need to be huge – just intentional. A walk, a trip to the grocery store for a light shop, a croissant at the bakery, a visit to the playground.

10. One night out each week with friends. A designated night. Each week. And if friends can’t make it, then on my own. Just to collect my adult thoughts, share ideas, get inspired and have some fun.

11. Be thoughtful about my commitments. I have a lot of good ideas for things to do in the community. But I can’t do them all. Instead this year I plan on handing out those good ideas freely to anyone who is looking for one. And sometimes even just floating them out there to the universe for people to grab who didn’t even know they were looking for a good idea.

It’s funny when my kids were little and playing with friends I would always tell them, “I’m not base!!” as they tagged me furiously in attempts to be safe from “it”. But really now I am base.  Especially now.




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We just looked at the calendar and realized it’s less than just over a week until school starts. WHAT??? Already??? It’s this time of year when I think homeschooling everyone might be kind of fun. I at least enjoy the idea that it’s an idea.

We’re trying to get our heads in the game as far as what it means to start up again with the 6:45 alarm and the homework and the lunches, but honestly, we usually opt for more of a baptism by fire. In some ways that works – especially as far as the rising early goes – but in some ways it sort of catches us off guard.

One thing we do every year is have a little back to school family party the night before. We state some high points of the summer. We all set some goals of things we want to have happen this school year, what we might want to learn or do.  And we celebrate our life together as a family. If you have some things you do each year to make it breezy, I’d love to hear them!

Suz Lipman at Slow Family Online, a great site and resource for all things family, just posted a great list of ways to intentionalize the back to school process – for yourself and for your whole family. It’s a good one with lots of amazing tips. Check it out when you have a few minutes.

And if you’re going back to school here in Austin, be sure to check out our 4th annual Zilker Elementary Back to School Clothes Swap. Bring what you can. Take what you need. We’ll have clothes from infants to adults. As usual, we’ll have sewers and screen printers on hand to help you one-of-a-kind a fave garment picked from the piles. Come and swap and see what amazing ensembles you can put together for back to school!


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