Surviving the End of the School Year Freefall

60812036_614147542437183_1158507719460651008_n.png

Dear Mom,

Hang tight. The last few weeks of school is the second toughest time of the year (after December). Between the dance recitals, end of the year banquets, end of course testing, teacher gifts, and warm weather excitement, our kids are going crazy. They are not following the rules. They are more hyper than usual. They are done.

And, you are likely done too. The good mom you were in September is long gone. The mom improvement goal you made in January lasted until Valentine’s Day. The mom who volunteered to bring fancy treats for school parties is now rushing to be the first one to sign up for paper plates. We are over it. We have used up all of our fun and shiny goodness, and now we are done.

But, school is not over yet! We have a few more weeks to get the kids out the door on time with homework done and lunches packed. We may not do it perfectly, but we can do it. We can make it to the finish line without losing our minds.

Here’s how we can get it done.

Stick to the Routine

60863128_416122759241162_3426566797564837888_n.png

The routine has gotten you this far – don’t throw it out now. Keep doing what works. For example, the sun is up a little later, but school starts at the same time in the morning. So, keep bedtime as close to the same time as you have all year.

But Expect a Little Less

60891011_428912404332350_6315778159279079424_n.png

If you feel done, just imagine how your little people feel! When you are tired, it is hard to do everything with the same energy as usual. So, yes, stick to your routine, but extend the kids some grace when they don’t act exactly the way you wish they would. Show a little more patience.

Write Every Important Date Down

61490701_437370353713629_2485121201916084224_n.png

Like December, the end of the school year calendar is jam-packed. In order to stay on top of everything and not forget when your kids need to take this test or be at this banquet, you need to write everything down as soon as you receive a notification.

Purchase the Teachers the End of the Year Gift They Deserve

plush-design-studio-479812-unsplash.jpg

With all the busyness of this time of year, don’t forget to purchase a gift for your child’s teacher. These men and women go above and beyond (and aren’t paid nearly enough). Give them something that shows you’ve seen all the hard work they’ve done this year and how much you appreciate them. Go ahead and buy it now before you end up rushing out the night before the last day of school.

Have a Family Countdown

61131662_324339071594776_3390667304831287296_n.png

If your kids are clearly ready for school to end and summer to begin, make a family countdown. Count down the days left while encouraging them to stay strong to the finish. Make it a whole family affair and then celebrate when summer officially begins.

Take Time to Breathe

60907221_477781272768436_577610897300652032_n.png

Finally, take time to breathe. Look for little pockets of time where you can rest and relax. Remind yourself that this busyness is just for a season. Summer is coming soon.

School Lunch Packing Tips for Busy Working Moms

Back to School

Mornings are stressful. Between waking up and rushing around to get myself ready for work, I also must make sure my girls are up and ready to go to school. Between making sure the girls are dressed, fed, and have their teeth brushed, I also have to be sure they have a healthy lunch packed for school.

As most working moms have learned, packing school lunches can be the one thing that sends out mornings into complete chaos. If you don’t have a plan, you will be scrambling to throw something into your child’s lunchbox and rushing to get out the door on time. And, the scrambling usually doesn’t lead to a very healthy lunch for your kid or a healthy start to your day.

Since mornings are not my favorite, I need to have time to wake up without feeling rushed. A chaotic morning is the worst! One way to avoid the morning chaos is to have some solid school lunch packing plans.

unnamed.jpg

For other NYC working moms, here are some of the tips I have picked up that make mornings and lunches healthier for my girls and myself.

Make Time in Your Schedule

You are already busy, but I promise if you plan time to prepare and pack school lunches, your mornings will be so much better. Instead of rushing around throwing anything into your kid’s lunchbox, just schedule time to make it happen. For instance, some moms schedule an hour on Sunday evenings to prep school lunches for the week. If you don’t like that idea, then set the alarm for ten minutes earlier to schedule time for school lunch packing.

But, you should also have a plan for when we lose track of time. I make sure we have Little Bites on hand for mornings when things don’t go quite as planned. These packaged muffins really save the morning when we are rushing out the door.

Little Bites

 

Have Set Rules for What Goes In and What Stays Out                     

It won’t be nearly as hard to pack a school lunch if your family has a clear rule for what goes in a lunchbox and what does not. This makes both grocery shopping for school lunches and packing school lunches much easier. For example, many moms follow the “one of” rule – one of each of the following: protein, dairy, carb, fruit, and veggie. And, don’t forget to pack something to drink! In our house, I always make sure my girls leave for school with a bottle of water.

water

Let Your Kids Help

There is no reason you should have to do everything (especially when you are doing so much already!). School lunch packing is not difficult – it is simply time-consuming. Instead, let your kids help. If they know what things should go in their lunchbox, it will make this much easier! Also, it is a good idea to have school lunch items in places they can reach. For example, use the lower shelves of the refrigerator or the pantry for school lunch items only.

grocery shopping

Bonus – take your kids grocery shopping with you! Grocery shopping for school lunches is full of teachable moments. You can point out healthy foods they can buy for their lunches and teach math skills. Plus, they are more likely to be excited to help pack their lunches if they have chosen what will go inside their lunchboxes.

Stock Up on Storage Solutions

All moms have their own ways of packing their kids’ school lunches. No matter if you want to use Bento boxes or Ziploc bags, you want to be sure you always have enough storage solutions on hand.

Do Your Prep Work

Like scheduling time to pack lunches, your mornings will be much smoother if you have done some prep work ahead of time. If you have leftovers, go ahead and store them in the containers you use for school lunches. Also, cutting fruits and veggies ahead of time will help out tons in the rush of the morning.

Don’t Forget Before and After School

Finally, don’t forget to make sure your kids take their vitamins in the morning before they go to school. While we can’t make sure they eat what is in their lunchbox, we can make sure they take their Zarbees vitamin.

zarbees

Additionally, it’s a good idea to have after school snacks ready. This doesn’t mean you have to bake cookies or anything – simply have an after-school basket full of snacks ready for them.