First Day of School – Fresh Start for Everyone…..Including Me

Today was my kids’ first day back to school (and the first time they have started before Labor Day – seems kind of un-American to me but they were definitely raring to go…) after an overall good summer for all three kids. The weather was pretty dismal – cool and rainy for much of it –  but we finished strong, with of course this week boasting some of the best weather all summer.

I, for one, am eager to get back into a routine and get our house – and habits – in order. I start the summer with the best of intentions – enforcing bed making and other chores each day, making sure everyone is reading each day, lots of homemade meals and veggies. I end with my tail between my legs with cluttered rooms, stairs full of items to be toted upstairs and a lot of hot dogs and chips for dinner. Hopefully our slacking is the sign of a good summer.

Last night at dinner we were all talking about the school year starting and what the expectations were for everyone – including me – and morning one was very successful. I think it helps to lay out the morning routine and school expectations and repeat them so it’s easy for everyone to remember and adopt as habits. Now that my kids are getting a little older – entering fourth grade, second grade, and Kindergarten – they can be a little bit more self sufficient. I am guilty of taking care of them a little bit too well, and it is obvious by my oldest who is the most helpless and my youngest who can pretty much fend for himself if given the opportunity. Anyway, here is what we talked about as far as school year expectations:

All kids need to pick out clothes and assemble backpacks by 8pm the night before a school day.

Allow extra time for everyone in the morning to avoid rushing – especially me. I absolutely hate rushing. It puts me in a horrible mood. This year I am going to try and give myself at least 20 minutes before everyone needs to be up to get dressed, make coffee, get breakfast ready, etc.

All kids should wake up by 6:45 – 7 am at latest and need to come downstairs for breakfast by 7:15, dressed, with beds made, hair and teeth brushed. (I think assigning a specific time helps everyone be ready on time).

We also talked about what each child needs to work on in the classroom. Hilarious in that each is so different and the habits they need to work on reflect this- oldest daughter needs to work on raising her hand and participating in class more; younger daughter is fine with participation, but speaks so quietly no one can understand her so she needs to speak as loudly as she can; and youngest has to stop shouting out answers and talking too much (out of turn) in class (typical youngest…).

Of course we also covered personal hygiene at school, especially given all of the swine flu hype. Serious hand washing (no fake washing with no soap) and maybe passing on the water fountain unless especially parched.

I am looking forward to a good school year for all the kids – and me – if I could just keep the backstairs free and clear…..

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray