Going back to school in less than one month means 2 things to me:
1. Spend as much time as possible on the beach while my kids are still in camp.
2. Get my own sh*t together to make my kid's back to school transition as easy and seamless as possible!
While I've always managed to take care of #1, #2 has been tough! I always manage to forget to fill out form, send in supplies and even forget to pick up my kids (due to ridiculous staggered dismissal systems on the first few days).
Here are a few ideas I've implemented over the years to get organized and stay sane for back to school!
Evaluate Your Child's Closet
First off, if your child needs to wear school uniforms (my 8 and 6 year old will both be in uniforms this year, then you can set up their wardrobe WAY in advance. For me, this was in June for the polo shirts and cardigans. While they were celebrating the end of the school season, I packed away clothes that didn't fit them and made a space in the closet for uniforms. I went through their stuff and bought new socks and underwear in bigger sizes that they desperately needed and evaluated who needed what type of clothing (All their dressy clothes got way too small and their weekend clothing was all stained with everything from slime to chocolate....) Don't sweat it if you never got to doing this in June, just get on it!
Designate and Fill Your Homework Station
I'm very into the idea of creating stations in the home. I have a school lunch gear station, where I can easily find containers for school lunch. I have a nursing and pumping station with all my breastfeeding needs in one spot, but the most important is the homework station! The homework station is simply a place in the home where a child and mom can find anything they need related to homework. You don't need a large space to do this! My kids will be doing homework on the kitchen counter so I cleared out one of the junk drawers in my kitchen and called it the "homework drawer." I filled the drawer with colored pencils, about 100 pre- sharpened pencils, an electric pencil sharpener, pens to sign homework, crayons and markers for my younger daughter and ! These days with iPads and wifi enabled printers, the old school idea of having a desk is completely obsolete! Check out some inspiration for creating your own homework station here and here!
Make This Season's Master Dinner Plan
Every season I come up with new ideas for my master meal plan. If you don't know what a master meal plan is, check out this post I put up explaining exactly what you need to do! Basically, it is a big list of foods your family likes, which helps you think less when it comes to dinner time. A master dinner plan is such a big help in my house because whenever I am feeling uninspired, I can just glance at a list of dinners, choose one and cook it. No inspiration needed! To discover some new exciting meals, I like to go on Pinterest and search everything from "freezer friendly meals" and "healthy kid's recipes" to specific searches like "what to do with salmon" or "best ways to cook tofu." I then sprinkle a bunch of new dishes into the weekly rotation to keep my family guessing whats for dinner!
Teach Your Kid's Some Relaxing Techniques
Back to school can be exciting and fun for many kids- seeing their new classrooms and old friends, but it can also be a source of worry and stress. What if I get the mean teacher? What if my friends are all in the other class? What if this is going to be the WORST YEAR EVER. You know your child best, so if they have these types of worries, teach them some easy relaxation tools. Check out this post on some mindfulness resources for kids. I also like the Stop, Breathe and Think Kids app which is free! While you're at it, how about doing some breathing yourself? Kids are great at picking up any anxiety mom is feeling!
Now, onto the salad dressing!
As part of my weekly meal prep I like to make a few salad dressings and caesar salad is one of my daughter's favorite foods! I make the dressing in the beginning of the week for use in her lunchbox, at dinner and for my own lunches, like this one!
Vegan Nut- Free Caesar Dressing
2 cloves garlic
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon capers (with the juice)
2 tbsp vegan mayo or 3-4 tablespoons silken tofu (or a combination)
2 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
1/3 cup water, or more, as needed to thin
Blend everything well. Allow to sit at least a half hour (unless your child is very hungry and wants it ASAP).