It's important to get into a bit of routine for back to school. It helps with getting the kids in the school mode as well as organizing yourself into the school grind. The lunch boxes. The school bus pick up. The field trip forms.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help with back-to-school:
Get on the school clock. Say goodbye to the late summer bed times and lazy summer mornings. Get you and the kids onto the school clock as soon as possible. School night bedtimes. School morning wake ups.
Do an out-in-the-morning school drill. Like a fire drill, drill your kids on getting out the door and off to school. Jackets on. Backpacks ready.
Lunch box practice. Pack a few lunches in your school lunch box containers and have kids practice open and closing the containers. Sounds crazy but it's a good way to see if kids can open that thermos or not.
The right backpack. Try out backpacks and make sure they are the right size and fit for your kids. Homework gets heavy as the kids go into bigger grades and you want to ensure they have a pack that will protect their backs.
Homework. Schedule homework into your family calendar. I know, you've got karate classes and doctors appointments and favourite t.v. shows there now...but you have to put homework on the calendar and make it a daily activity.
School bus know-how. Figure out school bus drop off/pick up location and check it out. Is it in a good area? Do you know any other kids taking the bus? Any neighbours around to watch kids while they wait?
My big kids are CRAZY for something called Teen Beach Movie. I have come to the conclusion that every generation has to have a sappy, boy meets girl, break-out-into-a-random-song-and-dance-number musical. Where does this come from? Well, let's take a stroll down musical lane and see where the dance routines take us.
Should we blame West Side Story (a complete rip off of Romeo and Juliet...but aren't all sappy teen musicals based on this classic?!). Now that I've got "When Your A Jet" playing in everyone's head...
Then comes Frankie and Annette. I know they were in a bunch of movies, all on the beach, all breaking out into random song and dance numbers. Always happy. Even when boy almost loses girl...the film somehow maintains its perk. Want to know the plot of the current hit Teen Beach Movie? It's every Frankie & Annette movie ever made.
Here's a "did the chicken come before the egg" cunundrum—Was it Frankie and Annette or Elvis and Ann-Margret? Truly I don't know. They both visited my living room most Sunday afternoons growing up - and thus, they are forever equal on the musical teen movie tree in my mind. Gotta love Ann-Margret's spunk. And Elvis' never moving hair. How could a teen not adore this?
Didn't Grease just have a big anniversary?! Like 25 years or something? Despite the date—my kids can sing every song in Grease. I wonder if this was released in modern day...would the lyrics "Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?" be politically correct.
I'm dating myself now right? Who remembers Christopher Atkins (post The Blue Lagoon) and Kristy McNichol in The Pirate Movie (a take off of The Pirates of Penzance—which takes us back to ripping off Romeo and Juliet). When my kids got into the next teen musical movie (how's that for a teaser) I totally remembered how much I loved The Pirate Movie—so much so—that I (confession time) bought a copy on ebay. Yes, I let my musical-lovin' big kids watch it; and no, they don't get any of the "Keep Pumpin' and Blowin'" jokes.
High School Musical—a movie that spawned two sequels and a Sharpay spin-off. The soundtrack was on every ipod and merchandise hit just in time for back-to-school. Personally, I think Sharpay's younger brother was the most talented of the bunch.
Which brings us to the latest teen musical Teen Beach Movie. Tweens are already doing sing alongs and dance alongs. Plot is the every-teen-musical plot—boy-meets-girl, rival gangs, boy almost loses girl, boy hugs girl in the end...with songs and dancing in between.
If only Shakespeare had set Romeo and Juliet to music—we might have missed all of this.
Hot and heavy—water is a great way to entertain kids and cool them off both at the same time. Here are a few ideas to switch up H2O activities into some awesome Water Games.
Like The Hunger Games? Then Try The Water Games!
My kids and I made up this water game last week (and it was AWESOME). So remember in The Hunger Games when the cornicopia had a bunch of useful items Katniss and Pita could use to defend/attack with? And remember the Gamemaker who crafted the game? And The President who oversaw everything? Ok, it's that...with water.
We put out umbrellas, water guns and plastic cups in the middle of the grass (the defense/attack items). My toddler was the Gamemaker who held the hose and sprayed the big kids. I was The President ensuring the game went well (no one crying).
So the toddler sprayed, the big kids ran and got defense/attack items (they defended themselves against The Gamemaker and attacked each other) and I being The President made sure The Gamemaker (my toddler) stayed safe. It was so much fun.
And then of course we dried off, went inside, and watched The Hunger Games dvd.
Bucket or Bin
Repurpose your buckets and bins into water stations. Kids (especially toddlers) can play in and around the containers of water. And you can easily move them around as the shade moves.
You might also want to read my post on Five Cool Places To Take Hot Kids
Water Balloons and Water Guns
I was always very anti-water-gun. Until, my girls went to a house where there were water guns, and the kids went to town soaking themselves. Perhaps best to set up rules before starting a water game which involves water balloons or water guns (For example: like a safe word when you want to stop being hit).