I’ve been reading lots and lots of articles and blogs about preparing your child for returning to school. Frankly, most of these articles are saying basically the same thing year after year:

Get back into a routine

Organize school supplies

Create a study area

Talk to his/her teachers and discuss your concerns

Check your child’s IEP or 504 plan

Plan healthy lunches

….blah blah blah

I’ve read so many of these lists and articles and maybe you have too. So, here’s MY list of how to prepare for your child’s return to school:

1. Practice your jumping skills so that when Tommy steps on the bus his first day of school, you can leap in the air for joy and not sustain a stress fracture of your ankle.

2. Take a good look in the mirror and decide whether you want to go with Botox or a makeover to cover the stress you’ve been under while the kids were home all summer.

3. Run, don’t walk to your favorite department store and treat yourself to a new outfit to replace the paint/food/crayon covered Tshirts, shorts and flip flops you’ve been wearing all summer.

4. Allow yourself a full week of NOT picking up dirty clothes, toys, food clumps and other summer disasters. You worked hard enough- give yourself a mini vacation now that they’re back in school.

5. Look for every stray quarter, dime, nickel and penny and use them for hot lunches so you don’t have to pack any. This is a great incentive for de-cluttering the kids’ rooms.

6. Make a lunch date with a good friend, since you probably haven’t seen her since the end of May.

7. Do NO, I repeat, do NOT sign up for any parental school activities until you’ve looked at the list 10 times and asked yourself, “Do I REALLY want to do this or have time for this?” There are plenty of ways you can help out in school on YOUR terms and schedule.

8. Ditto with signing up your child for after school activities. In fact, subtract 2 activities from last year’s schedule. You’ll thank me. Really.

9. Encourage your child to sign up for Home Ec so that he/she will be forced to cook dinners for you.

10. Start thinking NOW about next summer and what you can do to make it a more pleasant experience. The stress will still be fresh in your memory and maybe you won’t feel too guilty about signing them up for summer camp. In Austria. Or Australia, for that matter.