Back to School: Parent Edition

Are you excitedly awaiting for back to school? Your kids have eaten you out of house and home? A couple of them you’re not sure what to do? I get it! Rejoice! It’s back to school time! So I’ve written a blog for how you can your kids ready for back to school. It was filled with all great and helpful suggestions. I am quite proud of that piece, but now it’s time to shift gears for the parents. Yes the parents.

I told you how you can get the kids successful but it’s the parents turn! You are the one in charge of you and helping you get ready for back to school first helps the kids get aligned!

Plan Early

Listen I’ve had some years where I’ve gotten supplies last-minute. It happens for various reasons but plan and do as much as you can early enough to cut down on anxiety. I for one will bargain hunt for supplies. So for me aligning sales is important to me. It’s important to know that I’m saving money. Let’s keep it real, having 3 kids means that back to school expenses expensive. I’ve never understood my parent’s life until recent years. I as a child just thought parents just went to the store, paid and rolled. I had no clue until I had my own that there is work to be able to do it all!! Shout out to parents who are trying to do their best.

Make a list and come up with a plan to attack school uniforms, supplies, tuition and back packs. It’s imperative to figure out as early as possible your game plan of attack!

Look over previous report cards

Although it would seem that this is exclusively for your child to do, learning to see trends will assist you as the parent to outsource help. It’s not ashamed to not know something it’s a shame to not do all you can to identify ways to make your child as successful as they can be. This may mean helping to fine tune their skill sets. We noticed a few lacks in concentration and so we started taking it back with practice work to help our children get better in that area. There are several sites that offer free printouts. Also you should have been tuning in often times the previous teacher is a great place to start. We had the kids start their Summer assignments early. We also increased reading and I looked online for other books to add to the reading list.

Get the Kids on their early back to school 3 weeks or more

We used to wait until the week before school and then send them to bed early and wake them up like a test run. This year outside of a few movie nights we have kept them on the same schedule. We didn’t even implement our normal Summer schedules. They are in camp all day and it’s easier for them and in reality for us. So far with us doing that and making them keep after camp studying at least 2 days a week it’s been helpful. My son is zooming through his sight words and our daughter is arising to the occasion in her work. It sounds harsh but some kids can’t really break too much and for the parents the house can have that well deserved rest time!!

Reorganize

It’s important for you to either place a station or two aside for the kids ahead of time for paperwork. One of the worst things is getting a slew of papers and have no clear direction of where it is. Our kids school don’t play and will give you an eye roll if you request another copy. I used to get so mad if they gave me an attitude. I soon stepped back and realized the lesson is helping the kids understand that you don’t always get the chance to fix things. I also started making copies or scanning forms. This way I didn’t have to bother with things. We never let on to our kids that we had the back up. We would depending on what it was give a consequence like delayed electronic use for having us assist in obtaining or using the back up.

Attitude Check

We all know back to school is coming. There is zero no reason to be upset, frustrated and upset that money is going to have to be spent. Even if your child is public school there will be money to be spent. You can attend a free back to school event in your town if you need it. However adjusting your attitude will help your child to adjust as well. They are relying on you to show them the ropes. Having a good attitude in general is helpful! Trust me going from this:

Versus this:

You decide!! So may your wallet be blessed, your nerves settled as we all push onward and upward towards our children education. Also may your wine glasses be bountiful as the time draws near!!

Camp is Over, Lessons were learned

Yay I do apologize for all of the parents who weren’t able to get your children into camp. This blog is not meant to stir up any ill feelings you had having to scramble for your little people.  I feel your pain in that would have led me into pure anxiety.  However I just want to do a dance that camp is over.  Trust and believe it’s not just that the start of school is literally around the corner, it has everything to do with what camp has meant for the Storr household.

My son was in another daycare and with that daycare they have a built-in camp.  He didn’t make it quite to his first full year.  The issue is simple, he was having issues adjusting. He was having issues with some of the kids and that’s all I will say to protect the innocent. However as a parent it was hard having to find alternatives for him.  I had to take him to counseling at some point which worked out since towards the end he was adjusting to life without his grandmother since her passing.  With all that was going on, I personally have to admit, I didn’t remove him in enough time.  Shocker I know. I battled taking him from the daycare because it was convenient for me to take him and his sibling to school and me to work.  The agony of having to start the process of locating another new school made my head hurt.  So I feel that my husband who took my lead and I just didn’t pull the trigger.  That is the one thing to date I regret.

Let me remind you that the very first daycare he was in since he was a baby discharged him and his siblings because they had contracted hand, foot and mouth virus which is a super common virus usually contracted in daycare go figure.  He never got over being in his mind thrown in the second daycare to be honest.  I don’t even ride past that old daycare anymore to avoid the why did she let us go questions.

In the turn of events, since not being enrolled in either daycare, my son has bounced back.  So in my mom heart, it has given me such a calm.  I went from getting calls daily because of my son’s responses to what was happening to none.  Not like a call but it wasn’t bad nope, to NONE.  Let me tell you how happy that has made me feel within itself.  He is back to enjoying going back to camp or as he calls it school since he starts kindergarten next week.  He smiles when you pick him up.  He is excited about all of the trips.  But it’s now coming to an end today.  It was great for him to have this positive experience before he starts school next week.

Let me say and make clear, I do not place blame at the previous daycare at all.  The first one I simply do not have anything positive to say on their behalf.  However the second one just wasn’t a good fit and if I be honest it wasn’t a good full fit for our family in the long run.  The reason is simple the second my son after a few months hadn’t adjusted I should have pulled him.  As a mom I should have set myself to the side on it and followed his cue.  It would have saved time and energy but we all live and learn.

Camp has done both he and his oldest sibling super well.  One its been a great peace not having to pay for field trips in addition to his tuition weekly.  Lawd, trying to keep straight who goes where and spending money for all is a lot in itself.  This camp provided all of that with the tuition and all the kids had the same things except if there was an allergy issue.  Do you know how much of a mom win that is?  A huge one.  So they won me over right from the start. Was it more money?  Absolutely.  But like my husband and I say you get what you pay for.  So we adjusted.  the kids had a blast.  Some of their trips I was kind of jelly over.  They really had a good time and not one provider did I have an issue with. That is a blessing.  Camps and daycare cost too much to deal with bad attitudes and bad vibes.  I tell people all the time, the ones who keep our children so we can work have hard jobs.  However this is something that you choose.  If you get to a point as a daycare worker or teacher and you heart isn’t in it, its time to renew your mind or find a new career.  This coming in and out snubbing parents, acting passive aggressive, or just altogether rude, will not cut in this field.  This goes for administrators too. You have to either love what you do, take a break, or keep it moving.  Nobody should have to come into your place of business and especially if they are paying for their kids to attend to deal with your nasty attitude either.

Here are a few things I want to highlight as we end camp and go into the school year:

  1. Know your money has power.  Although in daycare kids come and go, never forget that you are still paying for a service.  If you don’t like it, give notice and find somewhere else to go.  It’s simple.  You don’t have to argue.  Know your own money power and do what you have to do.
  2. Along with money power know the background and this is really for other camps and daycare.  A lot of camps have parents and families who run off of government assistance.  I am not knocking it, but never treat others better than or worst because of it.  Just because of a subsidy they have the same buying power.  Keep in mind that to the ones who pay cash can sometimes keep your daycare afloat if the government furloughs. Government has and will furlough again and if that happens it’s sometimes the cash paying clients are the ones that take the sting off behind the scenes.  How do I know this, my twin has been in the field since we were 18, we are now 36 I know a lot more than I let people believe.
  3. You can make a grievance with the daycare and if they don’t hear you, they are governed by laws that they have to uphold.  In Pa there is a star system and anything done that doesn’t align to that system that the daycare is on can be reported and you don’t have to simply take what they give you.  They can’t retaliate against you or withdraw your child.  Always check with the department of welfare or the state to see if the daycare has had any violations.  This is your duty as a parent and your right to do so.
  4. Find a daycare that has everything in writing especially for how they will handle instances of bullying or behavioral.  If you do not you will be battling air.  The reason is without these practices in writing daycare and camps can do as they please and you will only be able to complain or make static if they don’t abide by the laws.  Most daycares will abide by the law but not by a moral and human standard if they don’t feel as if things weren’t an issue.  Trust me.
  5. Never sign a non disclosure agreement if you leave.  Don’t sign it.  Get a copy if they ask you to and take it to an attorney.  I can’t even think why they would have one but trust and believe I keep an attorney on stand by and I will sign Donald Duck before I sign my name to some trash like that.  Daycares and camps run off a word of mouth for the most part.  Sorry not sorry.  We are talking about human lives. How the facility acts when things are less than stellar speaks about how they truly run.  I for one think others need to be cautious and asking those who was there if you have the ability to do so is key.
  6. If you are ever in a position where you don’t get along with administration even if its one or more of the persons in charge, made the decision if you are willing to stay with all things the same.  In other words, if the person (s) you do not get along can you deal with that for the sake of your child.  Sometimes you can and other times you can’t.  You should never feel like you are stuck.  IF you do, your child will pick up on that resentment.  If I am honest I know my kids have done so and looking at the situation I may or may not be sorry about that. I wrote about vibes and for me vibes matter.  I have had bad vibes with a person and how that person continues to act may suggest if I should correct the issue or let it go and move on.
  7. Do not allow your child to do something that you didn’t sign for.  For instance the Summer has been filled with drowning deaths.  One event comes to mine with the daycare from the South who was supposed to hike but then took the kids swimming and the child drowned and died.  This type of stuff infuriates me.  Do not send home a permission slip, get permission from the parent to do that activity and change without notifying and getting permission from the parent.  That was a free nugget for any daycare or camp.  This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Even more there is a family that is experiencing life without the life of a child who could still be here had they followed the laws and rules.
  8. Do not be afraid to find another camp, daycare or school.  Listen as we go into the school year, my kids have the privilege to go to private school, with that we literally mean business when it comes to their education, and how much we spend and what we expect.  We do over and beyond on all fundraisers, attend all meetings, engage all year without a parent teacher conference, attend all parties, come to all functions, and pay our fees during the year as asked I literally will put up with ZERO foolishness from administration.  We mean zero.  No one has to chase us to be involved with our kids lives and with that in mind I demand that the school hold up their end of the bargain at all times.  There is no pat on the back for what we do and neither will it be for those who teach them.  So we all have to be held accountable.

I want to shout out the second and last daycare/camp for the time they have had with my children.  As we transition into the next phase of our children’s journey, there is no hard feelings whatsoever but its time to continue down the path of excellence.  The kids have been super happy and that makes us super happy as parents.  This blog was not a means to air out any grievances.  This blog is to empower parents to never forget your power when dealing with daycare, daycare providers, camps, or schools.  Just because for those who work, and having someone to keep our kids is a must, doesn’t mean you have to take junk just to get through.  You were in control the minute you signed the contract and you are in control until you discontinue the relationship.  I hope that this blog gets you engaged on what some providers will do, what you don’t have to tolerate, and why you need to be on the lookout for in the future.  If you are fortunate to have someone who you trust keep your kids, do not let your guard down just because they are family or friends either.  Be vigilant in what you need, what importantly your kids needs, and realize that business is business and the business of healthy, happy, and engaged kids is most important.  Lastly trust your gut, and listen to your child.  Do not do what I did and air on caution for yourself.  Trust yourself.  Goodbye to Summer Camp but come through 2017/2018 school year!!

Oooo Oooo Organized Life

So Fall is coming.  I am super excited.  Fall and Summer play step sisters with me on who is the favorites.  With that in mind, its time to end the last quarter of the year. Literally 2018 will be here before you know it. I know we don’t want to think about it but its true. So while some will focus on making new goals the goal in that is to complete the ones you have started.  Yes how can you make 2018 and just throw caution to the wind on 2017. Let’s end 2017 off right.

What I like about the fact that 2017 still has a few months left is that you have time to make some great strides.  Think about September is around the corner so that leaves 3 months to literally get your life. Didn’t work out?  You have 3 months to still lose some pounds.  Time to get it right and tight can still happen.  How?  Dedicate yourself.  That is half the battle.  In the Fall there is a thousand activities to aid in that. Remember you got to get something down pack before the Winter blues enter in.  Do it before the snow and cold will convince you that you can’t go outdoors.  Where to get your motivation? Instagram? Facebook? YES and no.  Your biggest motivation is in the mirror?  When you get up and hate the way your clothes fit no matter what your size, that is motivation saying hey fix this. Motivation is always around you its a matter of not drowning motivation’s cries as you reach for that second donut.  Trust me I get it, my husband brought donuts home last night.  I had one today and walked away before motivation could kick me in the behind.

One of the other ways of getting organized is preparing.  For all of the parents who are about to send their children off, get organized now.  Start labeling your school supplies and clothes.  Every year thousands of dollars are wasted because some other kid had your child’s stuff because it wasn’t adequately labeled.  I cut this mess in half by ordering labels from Dinkleboo and getting the offer through Groupon for 5.00. I will not be sitting around labelling things with a sharpie this year.  It’s time-consuming.  Now I can have the kids slap their own labels on their stuff and bag it up.  Yes for a mommy win. You can do the same in your adult life.  Can you prepare before hand?  Sure can.  Many people complain about not having time to cook, I call BS on it.  Yes I said BS.  We know what that means.  It’s called not enough preparation.  I am super busy with 3 kids all under the age of 10, I blog, I work full-time, I work out, I have a husband, and I have a social life.  Go figure.  So how do I manage? A plan, a crock pot, a planner and a changed mindset.

So armed with a little motivation I plan ahead and work my plan.  I make it into a game. Right now 9pm is the end game.  Which means on Sundays I do laundry, meal prep by making 3 meals with 3 different selections at one time, and get all of the running around of life done by 9pm. Why?  I personally treat myself every Sunday to a glass of wine and I “wine down” with my Sunday shows.  This is how I get through it.  I have the music on, I dance around but I get it done.  I look like a Tornado has hit my house but by 9pm, all bags are set on the couch to grab including gym bag, lunches are ready, breakfast plans are done, and dinners are already set.  This ensures that if I have a hectic Monday, I will at least have my life together on some spectrum.  I will at least cut down on a thousand items being forgotten and left. Oh and I start out with writing out what needs to be done by looking at my calendar ahead of time.  Too much work?  No, but having stress over the things I could have prevented is worth it.

Speaking of list, a planner will aid in this. I already ordered and designed my 2018 planner.  You can order one from  personal planner and they are on sale now.  Why? Back to school.  You can catch a sale now. This is the time to get your entire life together. College and back to schools make getting your home, and personal life right. The sales I have gotten for new running sneakers, athletic gear, home, apparel, etc is crazy right now. I believe that life doesn’t have to cost that much and I rarely pay full price for anything.  Get to these sales.  Get to the makeover of your personal life.  I truly believe in order to be a better wife and mother I have to be a better me.  As I get things in order for my own heart’s desires the happier and more settled on the inside I have become.

Get involved.  My biggest compliant if there is one is not having local friends to do things with.  I have literally gotten out of my shell by attending events on my own.  I have signed up for all kinds of events for the Fall already.  I have (4) 5Ks set, a blog conference, and just some socializing that my Fall and Winter are about to be too lit.  Yes lit.  I am excited as I look at the colors flowing on my planner of fun non mommy, non wife activities that are building me up. So what are you waiting for?  Are you planning on beating yourself up for the rest of the year?  Are you planning to be super sad come 2018 over the lack of planning that you did in 2017?  Get it right.  Get it tight.  Get your life and organize the hell out of it.

Make a list of things YOU need.  Make one for your home.  Make one for your job and any organizations you are involved in. Have you gotten your physical and all of your health appointments set or did you start?  If you say no to either question, you can start by getting your personal health together.  You should have seen your doctor, your eye doctor, dentist, and any other physician for any other underlying health issues you have? Have you been to the gym or met with a nutritionist?  Make it happen.  Have you set all of your kids appointments for the same?  Then you have some work to do.  If you are in a relationship do you need to outsource for help?  This could mean counseling.  This could mean scheduling some US time.  US time is actually great medicine.  My husband and I was finally able to get a little baecation and it did wonders.  We were able to refresh our love, get away and not have to share food with little people, and relax.  We set relationship goals for the rest of they year.  We spoke TO and not AT each other. This is going to be helpful before the school year kicks in.

What about your finances?  Do you have life insurance, health insurance, and an emergency savings?  These are goals that should be in place or things you are actively working towards.  Also no more go fund me accounts for funerals.  Get life insurance. It’s a shame we put more emphasis on what we have on our bodies and what we eat than for the future.  Also what about wills, powers of attorneys?  None of that? Then it’s time to get in touch of a great attorney.  If you live in PA and want one that can work remotely in helping you along, than email me toitimeblog@gmail.com for a great contact.  Trust me life is too temporal to be out here not handling your business.

You have options on where to start.  Start with your health, finances, personal growth, new job searching, anything but start now and finish the year strong.

Back to School..

So I am really enjoying all of the awesome pictures of the kids going back to school.  I know some of the southern schools have started almost a week or more ago. Back to school can be hard when you have had nothing but fun all summer long. We covered the adult kids aka the college kids but we still have the rest of the kids that are articulating back now and in the upcoming weeks.

My oldest is going into the 2nd grade.  We have been having her read and get work done. She’s been doing work on a grade or 2 higher than where she should be.  It’s a great thing as her mind wants to learn.  The drawback to it is that she is a 2nd grader where her focus is all over the place.  We are constantly having to remind her of her tasks.  I’m glad that we are seeing this in her so we as parents know what to help her with outside of her teachers.  I am a full believer that the teachers are there to support the parents and parents support the teacher and student.  Now to my middle child.  He will be 5 this September however it is after the cutoff date of September 1st.  So that means he has to wait a year before he can attend kindergarten.  I don’t think he’s put it together that he’s not going.  I think a lot of that comes from us having him in a great preschool program and we have treated him just the same as our oldest in regards to the back to school shuffle.  If you are a parent of children and you have one go to school you know how you have to make the others feel important when they are not quite ready to take the educational leap.

We have always gotten him a new book bag.  I have always had an at home curriculum and we give him homework on top of what he was given from his teachers.  So he doesn’t see the difference.  This year his school has implemented school uniforms so it will be even better for him.  I have had many friends tell us to get him into school anyway.  There are a few things right and wrong. Do I think that academically my son is ready? Absolutely.  He is a scholar is his own right.  However maturity wise I say no.  Since the daycare he was at screwed us up, we have noticed that the daycare which was good had a few hindrances in his socialization.  One he had one on one attention and was favored.  This seemed great at the time until we had to move him and now he’s in a more diverse environment.  We attempted to understand the transition but then there were some major red flags.  He wanted to be in the teacher’s face and wasn’t able to understand that there were others who needed her too.  So as much as I have had the push to put him in kindergarten I am grateful for this extra time to get him nice and adjusted to this new environment.  We worked with the program he’s in now and supported him at home more to aid in his adjustment and its working well.

I skipped a grade in high school I have no doubt that later down the line my son if he wants to and there’s a need to can and will do the same.  This year will allow him to be able to focus on how to properly socialize with others and know what is acceptable for his interactions with his teacher.

Some tips for parents for the upcoming school year:

  1. Help your child be prepared.  Have them set their items that they need the night before.  Don’t you do it.  They get used to it and don’t take responsibility for their actions.  Plus you know how mornings go, one snooze button too many can mess up an entire morning. Be prepared!
  2. Know your child.  Stop giving the teachers a hard time when you know Johnny don’t listen.  Listen to your child and use discernment.  Don’t run to the school ready to fly off the handle and you know your child.
  3. Teach your child to be outstanding.  Set a standard.  If they can sit and play video games all day or catch a Pokemon than they can go to school and get good grades.
  4. Get help early.  You don’t have to know how to do that math that you haven’t used in ages but get someone to help your child when you see them failing.  Catch them before the fall.  There are many equipped people in your community or even churches that can offer low or free tutoring to your child.  The best way to show them how to get the help they need is for you to do the same.
  5. Motivate your young person.  This will require you to talk outside of a text message. Get to know their dreams and then align them with someone who is succesful in that field. Sometimes someone outside of you can motivate them as well.

Have a great school year and remember to pray over your child before they leave your home.  I would love to say that this school year will be without violence but that’s not the world we live in. Cover your children when they aren’t around you.  Regardless of bad mornings make it a point to speak positively into them.  You never know when that will be your last interaction.

 

Good luck and support each other this year!!