Back-to-School: Single Parent Style
You already have the list of everything your children to need head back to school this year. But there are also some things you need to do to get yourself ready. Of course, anticipation and preparation are key for all parents. However, if you are a single parent, it means paying special attention to the following areas:
1. Make sure you have your paperwork up to date.
If you have custody documents, the school needs a copy. You'll want to make sure it's a current one since custody arrangements are apt to change over the years. Keep in mind that even if you and your ex have agreed to something different than what's laid out in the court documents, if there's an issue, the school has to abide by what the legal paperwork shows.
2. Put the prep work in.
I know that all the back-to-school guides say this, but for a single parent it really is key: Do as much in advance as possible. In my house, this includes having the kids pack their lunches and backpacks the night before. Picking and setting out clothes early is a great idea, too. If you really want to go all out, you can set out clothes for the whole week in those compartment hangers that attach to the closet bar. And a shoe organizer on the back of the pantry is an easy way to organize nonperishable snacks within easy reach.
3. Set your children up for success.
If your kids are school aged, they're ready to take on a decent amount of responsibility when it comes to getting ready for and coming home from school. The trick is to make everything accessible. Put an extra tension rod in the closet so you can hang in-season clothes where they can reach. Attach some hooks halfway up the wall and some baskets underneath to create a place to hang backpacks and dump shoes. Set up an inbox on your desk where they can put permissions slips and important papers. The more your children can do for themselves, the less is on your list.
4. Begin how you want to end.
The start of school can do some funny things to your mind — like convincing you to sign up to volunteer in the classroom every Friday for the rest of the year. Before you start over-committing yourself (or your kids) make sure you're thinking long-term. In August, you may have every day organized down to the last minute and know that you have exactly 82 minutes every Friday of free time you could spend volunteering. But what happens come October when your planner is lost under a giant pile of laundry and broken dreams and all you want is one hour to yourself to watch TV? It's better for everyone in the long run if you start small and build if time allows.
How do you prep for back to school as a single parent?