For most moms of school-aged children, the “back to school” countdown is almost as exciting at those advent Christmas calendars. I mean, I get it. There is a certain beauty in being able to send your kids away for 6 hours a day knowing they will be learning, well fed, and looked after by someone other than YOU!
For me, though, it’s a bit different. My youngest, Ery, stays home with me still as she’s not yet old enough for pre-school. When her big sister is here she loves it. I love it. My girls are 4 years apart and I hate to say it but when Tris is home its like having a free helper. And just to clarify – no I don’t make Tris “babysit” her sister so I can work or clean or whatever else. It’s more like Ery is so amazed by her big sister (and Tris LOVES being a big sister) that she basically does everything Tris is doing or wants to do. There are even times when I want to have some time with Ery and she says “I’m playing with Sissy right now Mommy.” 😜
On the work front, of course it’s easier to get shit done when the littlest is not concerned with the fact that I’m working. It is easier to clean, do laundry, or even read a book. Hell, during summer vacation 2017 I actually achieved a 9 day streak where I was able to shower everyday…before Noon…total win!
But now school is back in session. Everyday is a struggle at school drop-off because Ery doesn’t want her sister to go. Then the next hour is gone because I have to spend it distracting Ery or sometimes downright bribing her into calming down…don’t judge me…sometimes you just need the crying to stop. Lol!
It takes a good two months to get Ery back to our normal routine. One where I can get some client work done, have a few video calls, and not let my apartment turn to total chaos and where she can get used to quieter activities, independent play, and not having her sister here.
It’s been 2 weeks lol. The struggle is real.
This will be the third year of Tris being in full-time school since Ery has been here. For Kinder it was much easier because Ery was much younger. First grade was a real test but in the end here’s what helped her (and me).
#1. New books, toys, and crafts. You will hear me mention time and again that kids love new things. And new doesn’t even have to mean brand new from the store…it can totally just mean “new” to your child. You can rent books from the library that your little has never read before. I also am fortunate to have friends who have kids older than mine. When their littles outgrow a toy they always check in with me to see if my littles want to give them a try.
I then designate a certain time each day for Ery to play with a new toy. She can only play with it on that day during the special time I’ve allotted for it. (And it’s almost always during a time where I need her quiet – like zoom video calls!)
#2. Fun snacks. Kids love things that look “cool.” Click here for my go-to Pinterest search for making fun and interesting but still healthy snacks for my littles.
#3. Quiet time. This one is harder for me than Ery actually. I make sure to take 20 minutes right after a high-energy activity with her and lay a blanket on the floor and sit with her engaged in a quiet activity. Sometimes this is coloring, sometimes its just laying down together. Now that she’s three I plan to introduce puzzles into the quiet time routine. Tris loved doing puzzles together around this age so I am interested to see what Ery thinks.
#4. Outside time. Even if it’s just 15 minutes or so. Ery likes to have me sit and watch her play in the dirt. Yep, the dirt. No matter how many different outdoor toys I buy or inherit her fave is just taking a spoon and digging in the dirt. She’s a cheap date. Ha!
Making sure to work these four things into our daily routine while her sister is at school seem to make a difference. If you have children home with you and others in school how to do get back to normal once school is in session? I’d love to hear them so please share below!
Lots of love,