Karen Drew: How we prepare for back-to-school

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It's 9 p.m., the week before school starts. The sun is still out and so are my daughters, playing in the back yard. 

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be "training" them to go to bed early and wake up early, so they are prepared for next week -- but I just can't make them come inside.  

They are chasing fireflies, swinging on the swing, and playing soccer. Their laughter and their yelling at times echoes through the neighborhood. It's hard to say goodnight and goodbye to summer.

Well all is not lost — I did promise myself mid-week that we would start going to bed just a little earlier.

Also see: Karen Drew: We had an 'old school' summer vacation - and it was perfect

I figure training can last three days.  So do I have other hints or advice on how to make that transition go smoothly?

Well, I'm trying to make it a bit more "fun" for them to go back to school. Usually, I hop on Amazon and order all their supplies. This year, we made an exciting trip to Target and I gave them much more independence in allowing them to pick their folders, supplies, and all the extras.  

Who would have thought a tie-die folder for my 9-year-old, and a black Nike lunch box for my 7-year-old would bring them SO MUCH joy! 

I've already hit up some websites for some different lunch ideas. I know when the kids are excited about their lunch it changes their attitude. Check this site out for example — love the Ham Mac and Cheese idea and Taco Pop Tarts! 

I try to do the same thing with finding fun breakfast ideas. Lately the kids seem to love fruit smoothies and I sneak in some protein. Here are some other ideas that might work for your family. 

Again, if the kids start out with something fun to eat for school, I've notice their attitude is always better and that makes learning easier.

All summer long we have been doing homework and reading four days a week -- that always helps with their transition back to school. Even if you haven't don't much "Summer Homework," you can still push the reading and some educational iPad games, just to get their brains back in shape for the rest of your summer days. 

School sports is right around the corner, so about a month ago, I started running with my 9-year-old. She wanted to be ready for her soccer season -- it was wonderful to see her confidence grow as her stamina for running the neighborhood increased.  (On a selfish note, I SO loved the company and the time with her) .  

Both Girls love soccer, so we started hitting the local park, working on our shots on goal, dribbling, etc. Again, if they feel more confident, they don't dread practices and games -- and drama is decreased. 

If you have not used an APP for organizing your life and the kids schedule, I highly suggest you start doing that — I love the COZI app. I also have a mudroom calendar and alerts on my phone as life gets so hectic!

Once school starts we really try to keep to a strict schedule, like going to bed on time, eating healthy, doing homework first thing when we get home, and making sure there is some time for play and relaxation each day. I have a 4th grader and a 2nd grader they still need to be kids — that is very important.  

I've also stopped myself from complaining about Mondays. I noticed when I did that the kids would echo that sentiment and would give them a bad attitude about going back to school for the week.  

We can truly control so much drama by changing our attitudes and how we react to things — I am trying to teach that to my daughters. Good Luck this school year it's going to a fun and crazy ride!

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