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Ready or Not, Here School Comes!

Posted on: September 4th, 2012 by Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN

On the eve of a new school year, I am anxious, ready, and sad, all at the same time.

I guess I’m ready and not ready.

I’m not going to lie—I love having my kids home for the summer, letting them sleep in, having meals at looser times, and lazy days when the schedule doesn’t resemble a schedule at all.

But I also selfishly enjoy sending them back to school. I love routine, structure and schedules! It keeps me motivated, focused and accomplishing the things I want and need to—without the interruption of children needing my attention or the disruption of chaos.

When they’re gone, there’s more “me time.” Having sacrificed this for nearly nine years, I relish the block of time that comes with waving the school bus good-bye.

But focusing solely on me during that block is boring. And I can assure you I’m not watching the soaps while eating bon-bons. Sure, I exercise, do a little reading, and maybe another indulgent thing or two, but most of “me time” is spent picking up the house, doing the laundry, running errands, writing, working, planning and making meals, and gearing myself up for the return of my kids…and the onslaught of homework, snacks, dinner, and driving all over creation (a funny term my mom used to use to describe endless deliveries and pick-ups).

So, I wonder, are you ready for school to start?

To me, the start of school is far-reaching—it is more than having the needed supplies, getting up early, packing lunches, and getting homework done. For me, starting school is riddled with hope, wonderment, and doubt.

The start of school can make even the most secure, organized, connected momma tremble in her waders.

Why? Pressure, newness, expectations and the unknown can get the best of any parent.

You have to be ready for a lot more than school supplies and lunches.

Ready for new friends to pop into your life (and your child’s), new classes and their demands, new sports teams and practice schedules, new volunteer roles, and new influences on your child (both good and not so good).

Ready to pack lunches or make decisions about what to buy in the lunchroom. Ready to balance homework with play. Ready to strike a balance of meals at home versus dining out. Healthy or not.

Ready for the new pressures that will fall upon your child. Ready to handle the child who wants to fit in with school age friends and the teen who wants to be independent and unique amongst his peers. Ready for the pressure to succeed at sport and academia. Ready for disappointment, feeling left out, friend drama, and loss.

Yes, the start of a new school year is exciting and hopeful, and at the same time somewhat stressful. To help you weather the ups and downs, I’ve gathered some resources to help you along your journey to a new school year:

School Lunches:

  • Bringing you the latest in school lunch news, my friend and colleague Dayle Hayes keeps us all up to date on school nutrition at School Meals that Rock.
  • Fed Up With Lunch—the book and the blog—written by an undercover teacher who opted to provide a birds-eye view of what was happening with school lunch. If you haven’t heard of this project or read about it, it’s not too late!

Lunch Box Ideas:

Smart Snacks for Serious Athletes:

Smart Snacking for Recreational Sports (and Opinions You’ll Want to Read):

  • My friend and colleague Sally has become the voice of snacktivism and kid’s recreational sports. You can find several of her posts here.
  • And a primer on healthy snacks for kids, with ideas you can try.

Healthy School Snacks:

Getting More Playtime:

  • Is school and activities crowding out playtime? Megan over at Let Children Play is an activist for children’s play—she has tons of ideas and opinions you’ll enjoy reading.

Your Child’s Development:

  • Many of my posts address child development, something that has a powerful pull on children’s eating behavior and choices.

No matter how you feel about the start of school—happy, sad, lonely, or free—getting ready for whatever comes your way can help the transition move smoothly.

How are you feeling about the start of a new school year?