14 Jan Episode 41 Are You Ready for Kids to Return to School?
Who says that only the kids need to be ready for school? Well yeah, moms like us will surely find time to prepare for school amidst our ever-busy schedules. Now that another school year is about to start, I decided to have a “new school year” resolution. I ponder on what I did wrong, what I should improve to make things easier for me, and what I can do differently.
And so, this self-realization led me to come up with six top tips that I would like to share with everyone. The list could be endless and may vary for each person, but these are the things that I am determined to change this year. Check out my list below and let me know your thoughts.
List of school supplies
On the last day of school, the list of school supplies was usually given for the incoming year. If they didn’t give you the list, I recommend browsing through the school’s website, and you surely get it from there.
What I did wrong before: I post it in the fridge door and forget about it for six weeks. And when the new school year is near, I’m like a headless chicken running to get everything bought.
What I’m going to do differently this year: I run through the list when it arrived and immediately check which items are already available and may be reused from last year. If you have kids with similar requirements, they might have some leftovers from last year that your other kids can use. Or if you have twins, they can share the same items. If you have families and friends who are looking at the same list, you can invite them to buy in bulk and save lots of money.
Nordic Mum Tip ♥: Take advantage of big stores or chains which offers huge discounts during back to school shopping seasons.
Lunchboxes and Drink Bottles
Lunchboxes and drink bottles are an essential part of your child’s school stuff but probably one of the most abused.
What I did wrong before: We managed to use the same lunchboxes and drink bottles throughout the year. It’s because they are made of plastics. Plastic lunchboxes are very durable and known to last, plus they are cheaper. But the downside is, after many uses, they look disgusting and unhygienic to use. Plastic can absorb the smell of food, and they stuck no matter how many times you wash it.
What I’m going to do differently this year: This year, we’ll use metal lunchboxes and drink bottles. I already ordered from Seed & Sprout, but unfortunately, they will arrive only in March. I’m thinking of getting new plastic ones but realized that we had one or two lunchboxes used for my husband’s work. We’ll alternatively use that until our new orders arrive. Did I say I’m so excited about our new lunchboxes?
I’m looking forward to using them. Those are equally durable and much hygienic to use.
Nordic Mum Tip ♥: Metal water bottles keep your water cooler for a longer time than plastics.
Food Preparations to the Freezer
I make sure we have healthy frozen meals, and these foods are ready to place inside my kids’ lunch boxes. Of course, these meals depend on what the kids want to eat.
What I did wrong before: Not organized in preparing food to the freezer
What I’m going to do differently this year: Have a more systematic way of preparing foods to the freezer by planning their requested meals. If this is the week for baking, then, we bake all the foods ready in the fridge. I usually make enough that they last for the whole school term. Also, there are heaps of recipes on the internet that will give you various healthy options if you would like to try a new meal from your kids’ favorite foods.
- Delegating Responsibilities to Your Kids
If you want to be ready to go to school on time, there are certain things you need to do. It’s alright for you to prepare the food. And you can have your child take responsibilities for packing their lunch. It’s much more difficult if your child is younger, but you can make them realize the new responsibility that they’re in-charge and push ownership on them.
What I did wrong before: I did all the preparations and packing of my kids’ meals.
What I’m going to do differently this year: We’ll implement this new responsibility with my son to pack his lunch starting on Day 1 of school term and see how it goes. He has to like the food he packs so that he’ll be happy doing it.
Nordic Mum Tip ♥: This task is understandably challenging to carry out while starting. But you will reap the benefits soon. As a mom, you’re not only unloading some activities to your kids, but you’re teaching them something that they will carry on in their lifetime – independence and responsibility. You’re doing great mom!
- Weekly Planned and Healthy Meals
What’s for dinner, mom? How many times did you hear this when your kids get home? And so, I thought of involving them with the planning of weekly healthy meals.
What I did wrong before: I did all the planning for our meals, which is time-consuming. And it seems with that question always popping on their head, they are clueless about what to eat for dinner and the chances that they don’t like what I will prepare and serve is high.
What I’m going to do differently this year: I’ll have this simple activity to engage them in the weekly planning. I got a magnetic meal plan posted on the fridge and ask the kids on their dinner ideas. I take 2-3 of their ideas and 2-3 of mine too. Now that I have the list, I know what to shop already, which gives me lots of advantages on time and money. It saves me time on the planning part and saves money also because I tend to focus on the list and avoid buying unnecessary items that I’ll see in the grocery stands.
Nordic Mum Tip ♥: There are time and money savings when you are organized. Plus, the sweet fact that your kids will love your cooking and the food they will eat. They’ll enjoy having Pasta Mondays, or Rice Tuesdays, even Fish Wednesdays, and so on.
- Involvement in Sports Activities
There’s always after school activities, and there’s also after school sports. Some parents involve their kids less, while some want them all. The key is asking your child what they want to do. Don’t go overboard. School activities are enough for them, and maybe, they don’t want any sports activities after school which they can opt to do on weekends.
What I’m going to do differently this year: We sat down with the kids to ask them what sports they want to sign up this year. Even if their schedule is loaded with school and sports, it’s also important to remind them to see their friends still.
Nordic Mum Tip ♥: While nurturing relationships among the children are essential, it is also a good idea for moms to catch up with fellow moms of your children’s friends. Make it happen at least once a week.
“It’s not about trying to be the best of everything and anything, but it’s also about creating memories and experiences to your children. Make sure you have the so-called normal life in brackets. Make sure that those friendships and relationships that are important to them are nurtured.”
There goes my list. Now fellow mom, why not create your own too? Trust me. It will be fun and exciting. Don’t forget to let your kids engage with this activity. I’m sure that will add up to the excitement level. Feel free to comment below, and I’ll be happy to discuss.
If you want to know more about Finland and schools then listen to my podcast episode Why Finnish Schools are Different.
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