Tags: Education, Featured Story, Health
As summer winds down and the fun-filled days at the beach or pool become memories, the flip flops are traded in for sneakers, the goggles for eye glasses, and the electronics take a back shelf to textbooks and studying. Back to school can be serious business, but there are also some fun aspects to this new routine, especially for moms. You've been playing "cruise director" all summer keeping your little ones' minds engaged and social calendar full, and now it's your turn to enjoy their days back at their desks and under the watchful eyes of their teachers. Here are just eight of the many reasons you should be happy for your kiddos to be back at school.
1. Free Time
Be selfish. Moms give so much of their time and talents to their children, it's okay to enjoy yourself and get pampered while your little ones are at school. With your free time, you can take a nap, read a book, watch a movie, catch up with a friend, or spend an afternoon at the spa. Moms need times to rejuvenate and relax just as much as anyone else, if not more so.
Liesl Luthi, mother of five and substitute teacher, enjoys the quiet house and free schedule when her kids go back to school. "I can get a pedicure, have lunch with my friends," she says. "I need quality 'mom' time, too."
2. End to Boredom
The lazy days of summer can be just that – too lazy. Was the number one complaint you probably heard from your little ones during the summer: "I'm bored?" Keeping your kids entertained, social, and learning all summer can be a full-time job. So, when school comes back around, enjoy the break while school serves to engage them.
At school they not only learn from textbooks, activities, and teachers, but they also get to plan their own social experiences and activities. They reconnect with friends they haven't seen all summer and they learn new things with each new school year. School keeps their minds and social lives actively engaged.
3. Back to School Shopping
Who doesn't like an excuse to go shopping? Back to school also gives you a chance to shop for school supplies and new clothes for your kiddos. With new purchases, you can also take the time to get rid of out-of-date clothing or other items. Renee Christensen, mother of five and substitute teacher, likes that each new school year she gets to de-clutter. "We go through their clothes and clean out their drawers," she says. "It's like starting over."
Liesl likes the back-to-school shopping experience because now that her kids are older she gives them a set dollar amount and she enjoys watching them make their own choices for school clothes. "It's up to them. They can spend it all on one pair of jeans, or be smarter with their money," she says. "It's really fun watching them learn how to shop on a budget."
Volunteering is a great way to spend your free time while your little ones' minds are busy at school. You can volunteer for your kids' school parent-teacher club or a local nonprofit organization. As a mom, you can use this time to connect with teachers or fellow moms from school or help out a local charity with a cause that you feel passionate about. It's a chance to use your organizational and management skills while having fun in the process. The beauty of volunteering is that you can be involved as much or as little as your time allows.
5. No More Bickering
Does this sound familiar? "That's mine." "He's touching me." With the kids back at school, much of the summertime sibling rivalry will be gone, at least until the school bus drops them off at home for the afternoon. Even then, the kiddos might have had enough separation to dissuade their usual arguments.
Ixchelle Waite, mother of four, says that she notices less fighting among her crew during the school year. "I think they appreciate each other more," she says. "They are able to have their own space, their own friends, and they can have a break from each other. Then when they're back together, they are not on each others' cases as much."
6. Teachers Get Kids on Task
With back to school comes the routine that kids need to keep them on task to learn and succeed in school. Teachers get a chance to inspire them to explore new and exciting subjects. Enjoy the help from these professionals and encourage your children to listen and learn from their teachers.
Vicki Himle, mother of two and physical Education teacher at Warren Junior High School, says that sometimes getting the kids back into the swing of school, and especially exercising, can be challenging. "Kids need to be back into a routine because it keeps them more productive," she says. "Some kids come back to school whining and not ready to exercise because they've sat idle all summer, but most of the kids really like it. They need the consistency."
7. Get Back to Your Routine
The carefree days of summer can be disastrous on your normally functioning household and personal routines. Back to school means back to the cleaning and cooking schedule and back to your fitness regimen. Use this time to get your life back in order. Go to a class at the gym that you haven't gone to all summer, plan your monthly menu and shopping lists for more home-cooked meals, and you can keep up on the household chores easier.
"One thing I like about back to school is that the house stays clean a little longer," says Renee. "I can clean it at 10:00 and it's still clean at 2:00, until the kids get home."
8. Watch Your Kids Succeed
Nothing makes a parent more proud than watching your child succeed at something. School gives your kids many opportunities to excel at academics, sports, social connections, or artistic expression. Take pleasure in each new school year as a fresh start and a chance to learn and grow.
Renee not only enjoys watching her kids learn new things each year, but as a substitute teacher she likes watching her students' excitement about school. "I like to see their learning process engaged," she says. "During the summer, they are learning in different ways, but at school it's great to see their fire again, their excitement for learning."