Simple Solutions for Back To School Success
The hectic back to school season can cause all kinds of sticky situations for families like overwhelming calendars that conflict, soggy sandwiches in lunch boxes that result in your child not eating your intended food, manic mornings and more. Truly a busy school year can bring about all kinds of challenges, so here are some simple solutions for the hodge podge of situations that we have experienced through the years.
Back to School Situation #1 -- Overlapping and overwhelming calendars
Simple Solution - Cozi.com! My entire family digs this free online calendar service that makes sharing our busy schedules a breeze. It has been a lifesaver. I simply logged onto www.cozi.com and signed up. Now when I enter my daughter's yearbook staff meeting or my own dentist appointment, the entire family receives the family calendar in an instant on their smart phones. I also love it because my kids can check their own Cozi phone calendar to see what days are open before they ask me about adding an event. I love this tool and can't say enough good stuff about it. It has helped our family to de-stress while we work as a team to tackle our busy lives.
Back to School Situation #2 -- Soggy sandwiches
Simple Solution -- This took me a while to figure out, but through trial and error, my daughter and I came up with a way to pack a sandwich that won't turn soggy and unappetizing. We buy the 100% Unbleached Paper Snack & Sandwich Bags at Sprouts Farmers Market (48 bags in a box). This environmentally friendly product is made of 100% renewable sources and keeps the sandwich perfectly formed and dry. So the first step is to place the uncut sandwich into the paper bag and then secure in a Tupperware container. Make sure that the enclosed lunch box ice pack isn't placed directly on the sandwich container. In other words, place another food item in between the sandwich and the ice pack, like a bag of carrots, for instance. Try it because this sandwich packing formula works!
Back to School Situation #3 -- Food allergies
Simple Solution -- Of course make sure that all the necessary allergy paperwork is completed and turned in to the health office and to your child's teacher(s). Make sure the school has whatever allergy meds on hand that your child may need. My own daughter has a severe cashew nut allergy, so the nurse has Benadryl and her EpiPen. Since my child is now older and is in middle school, she also keeps a second EpiPen with her at all times. In addition to these safety measures that are in place, check out this cool invention called Allermates.
Allermates makes high quality, insulated lunch totes that are just the right amount of cool for kids with allergies or who are wheat gluten free who want to be safe and stylish. The allergy lunch bags come with a colorful allergy information card featuring the AllerMates characters and slides into a clear side pocket to help identify your child's allergy in a fun and straightforward way. Important emergency information can be placed on the back of the card. This mom invented company also has adorable reusable allergy alert snack bags featuring some of the AllerMates characters. This bag can also be used to store and help keep safe your precious AllerMates accessories like wristbands or charms. The cute and handy bags are BPA, lead and phthalates free and are machine washable & dishwasher safe. Allermates items can be ordered at www.allermates.com. The large snack bag I showed sells for $7.99 and the AllerMates lunch box that was seen in my segment costs $19.99.
Back To School Situation #4 -- Limited time for a hearty and healthy after school snack
Simple Solution -- Have a couple of EcoCozies on hand and prepare a good after school snack for your child earlier in the day so you aren't rushing to find something good to eat at the end of the school day. Ecocozies are reusable, insulated, neoprene food containers with a food-safe liner. I like the pizza shaped EcoCozie that stores a sandwich or the rectangle one that holds foods like veggie sticks. An added benefit to using reusable containers is teaching your children the importance of protecting our planet. These cool containers can even be put on the top rack of the dishwasher for easy cleaning. Ecocozies are free of BPA, lead, PVC, vinyl and phthalates. $19.95. www.daisycontainercompany.com.
I also like a smart product called FreshTape because it keeps snack food (that I need to find and grab quickly after school) fresh. This handy invention also saves money. I use FreshTape to reseal food bags like pretzels, popcorn, grapes and other after school snack foods that I want to grab and go. FreshTape comes in 13 fun patterns like animal print, retro, dogs and kids and they sell for $9.99 for a set of 18 at www.getfreshtape.com.
Back To School Situation #5 -- Time management issues
Simple Solution -- A timer to help your kids study for timed tests and to manage their nightly routine. When it comes to budgeting time for studies, presentations and more plus finding some down time to recharge, it can be tricky for your child to manage time. I love the little red Taylor Classic Slim Timer that times up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds. Plus it has a magnet on the back, so we keep it on the fridge, so when one of my kids has to prepare a timed oral presentation or practice for a timed test, this handy little timer is easily located. Using a timer is very handy and helpful.
Back To School Situation #6 -- Manic mornings
Simple Solutions -- My tween daughter recently wrote a great article on my blog about how to get your kids adjusted to a new school year. She did a great job on the article, that she wrote 100% by herself, so if you would like to read a tween's perspective, take a look at the article link, http://www.managedmoms.com/2014/08/back-to-school-adjusting-advice-for-parents-kids-from-a-kid/. One of the points she makes in the article is to not only select your entire outfit the night before, but to also lay out a week's worth on Sunday night. She also suggests laying everything out from head to toe, so that includes hair style accessories, jewelry, socks, shoes and any other wearable items that complete an outfit.
One of my Mom suggestions is to place a sticky note on your steering wheel if there is something that you can't put in your car the night before that can't be left behind. When I am assigned to bring a food item to school, for example, I will place the sticky note with the food item written on it, so it may say "bring veggie tray" on my steering wheel since that item has to be kept in the fridge all night. This little trick works wonders when I need to make sure that I don't forget an important item during a manic morning.
Back to School Situation #7 -- Computer crashes & broken cell phones that result in lost calendars
Simple Solution -- Have a good hard copy back-up calendar in place. I like the pretty flowered notebook calendar that is called the Dotmine Day Planner that goes from August 2014 to December 2015. Dotmine Day Planners are chic and trendy and are perfect for students of all ages (and great for moms too to keep their kids’ school and activities in order). If your electronic devices malfunction, you have this pretty paper planner as backup with a clear view of your day, week and month. These planners go for 17-months from August through December and they're reasonably priced from $15.99 to $32.99 at www.timemine.com.
These are some of the sticky back to school situations that we have solved. How about your family? What are your back to school solutions that keep things running smoothly during the hectic school year? Tell us in the comments section and be sure to check out my blog at www.managedmoms.com for back to school ideas, recipes and more to make our manic lives a little more managed.