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Part 2: Ready, Set, GO! Practical Ways to Get Ready for the School Year!

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

This is Part 2: of my August series of getting us ready for this new upcoming school year!

This will definitely go down in history as a historical school year, the year of COVID 2020. Now, what!?

Last week, we filled in all the components on our Family Scoreboard: including our Rallying cry (how empowering!), and our standard and defining objectives, but what are some practical ideas about how to put this into practice?

How are we going to take on this school year with Intentionality?

There are so many unknowns: Maybe we need a plan A and a Plan B?




I’m going to continue to use my 3 apps (Mint, Cozi and Everydollar) to the best of my ability to plan whatever happens to come up.

We don’t know if our kids will have school sports or any sports during this school year. My children love soccer, volleyball and basketball but with COVID, we don’t know if they will get to play any contact sports so I’m preparing my kids that they may have to sign up for cross country running or individual sporting events. I’ve tried to motivate my kids by promising to pay them 50 cents for every km that they run and to use that money towards something fun!

I’m hoping to keep my kids moving while setting an example myself that exercise is important to daily life and that we have to keep our bodies moving. I’ve tried to encourage them that school sports and team sports are awesome and important but there will be times in your life where it isn’t practical or feasible. What is your backup plan for staying active?

This applies to us as adults too. There may be a time again this year when the Gym facilities are closed! We live in an age of technology, let's use it to our advantage. There are so many apps and free workouts online to keep you accountable.

My favorite app for workouts is... you guessed it... Fitness Blender! They even have a kids workout as well that I have tried out with my kids. It is geared towards smaller children with games like "Red Light, Green light."

READY!

I’m from Canada and Hockey and Dance are two very popular sports that can be quite expensive. So assuming that if we go with plan A: parents do you know how much these sports cost in total for the year?

I know that it can be difficult to estimate for Hockey and it varies depending on if your child’s team makes it to the playoffs or not and how old your child is and whether they travel or not.

"If you're doing eight, nine, 10 years of Triple A hockey from novice up, you're talking eight to 10 grand, minimum," says Jim Parcels, a long-time minor hockey coach and administrator who is the co-author of Selling the Dream: How Hockey Parents and Their Kids Are Paying the Price for Our National Obsession. "You do that for 10 years, that's almost $100,000. That's because it's six, sometimes seven days a week commitments."

(https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/the-great-offside-how-canadian-hockey-is-becoming-a-game-strictly-for-the-rich/article15349723/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20survey%20by,for%20skates%20and%20other%20equipment.) This is an article from 2013, but I imagine the cost has only increased not decreased! Hockey isn't the only activity that is pricey. Here's a bit of a comparison chart. What do you think? Is it accurate? I think these are the bare minimum costs associated with these activities and doesn't include specialized teams like Club Volleyball or the food, travelling and equipment costs.



Sit down and calculate how many times you eat out in restaurants or eat fast food and how often you stay in hotels and the total cost of gas. If you are unhappy with how much this is costing you, where can you make adjustments? What kinds of changes can you make to lower the total cost by planning ahead? Are there any meals that you could make ahead of time either in individual portions by batch cooking and freezing or by making casseroles ahead of time and freezing them for the whole family. Maybe you could find a partner family or two, on your team to take turns making these meals with? Use the Cozi App to plan your meals!


Once you have estimated the total cost, divide it by 12 months of the year and have a sinking fund where you can set aside your monthly sporting costs for the next year, that way it will be easier to manage the cost because you have considered, planned ahead of time and set side some money.


Dance: does your child need to be in every single type of dance? Could they pick just one that they really love or maybe make a decision about whether they will play school sports which run slightly cheaper, instead of dance?


Music Lessons is another really expensive item. There are a lot of parents out there with children who don’t practice their instruments but the parents like the idea of that child playing an instrument. Is there the possibility of your child watching lessons on Youtube for one year first to see if they can truly learn the discipline of practicing before paying for lessons from a professional. Or maybe you can get a teenager to teach lessons at a slightly reduced rate.

I'm not saying that any of these extra-curricular activities are bad or too costly. I'm suggesting that we sit down and count the cost first and weigh the pros and cons. Make a decision and plan how to pay for it beforehand and not go into debt to pay for it afterwards! I'm suggesting that there might be alternatives out there. Remember, each family is going to make their decision based on their Rallying Cry, and not another family's Rallying cry!

Next!

Use that Cozi calender to plan out all your activities so that everyone in your family is aware of what is scheduled and has access to that schedule. Plan your meals around these activities for the week! Reduce the panic of, "what are we going to eat for dinner? and oh no! it's already 5 pm"

Christmas

We all know that Christmas arrives at the same time every year but somehow it manages to creep up on us.

I have found over the past couple years that sinking funds or monthly money that I set aside for Christmas starting in July really helps to prepare for these expenses. I found in past years, that December was a very expensive month that I was not prepared for. Then, I started setting aside $100/month in a sinking fund towards Christmas then when December arrived, I wasn't as frantic or anxious about the cost of Christmas. I’ve even started Christmas shopping for presents for teachers in Jan-March when there are items or gifts on sale.

SET

We all know that less stress = a happier family but how can we make that happen? Expectations are a large part of that stress. When everyone knows what the plan is and what is going on and the expectations are laid out, then it makes life much easier.

Set out your expectations very explicitly for your whole family. For example, "kids when you get home from school, please unload the dishwasher and re-load the dishwasher so that when I pick you up after i'm done work, we are ready to leave for piano lessons/dance/hockey etc"

This is very age-dependent of course. Set out a plan for the day, so that you don’t get side-tracked by what you need to do. Let the kids take some responsibility for their activities and explain to the kids, "if you want to participate in these extra-curricular activities then you need to help me get ready with x,y,z!" Don't let it all fall on the parents to do the work!

Clarify your expectation to your Spouse: this week "I need you to pick up the kids and take them here or there" or "this week I need you to make supper and do the dishes"

Have your children pack their own bags with the items that they need to succeed: ex. their water bottles, snacks etc.


We have all been out of practice. It’s gonna be a steep learning curve again post COVID but we got this!


Maybe do a dry run of the first day of school ahead of time.

Having things by the door, doesn’t mean that your child will actually put them in their backpack. It means they could still forget. You might need multiple check points!

Once they get into the vehicle: ask: do you have your water bottle? for the third time. Oh no, they forgot it beside their backpack when they were putting on their shoes. Yes! I have that child!


I have worked full time since my children were little and the number of times that I have lectured them on the way to school, could pay for my retirement. Unfortunately, I kept telling them that "I don’t want to yell at you, I want our morning drive to be filled with love before I send you out into this world but you are making this very difficult for me." However, I needed to change how I got up in the morning to make that happen. I needed to get up at least a half hour earlier so that I could get my stuff done and then supervise them, otherwise they would get distracted by making up games, puzzles, reading a book etc instead of getting ready for school.

I also started asking my kids: what are your expectations?

How can I help your morning feel better? What do you need from me in the morning? Do you need snuggles first thing in the morning? My youngest just wanted someone to set out a bowl and spoon for him for breakfast and then he could make his breakfast on his own. Yes I can do that. My oldest needed extra time for him to get up and moving in the morning because he is not a morning person. My youngest needed to know what time he needed to get up and time to lay in my bed and then get up. Yes it’s a pain but it is their morning too, I guess.

It really makes extra work and time for me, but it is worth it for less stress? probably... it's only 10-12 years of my whole life...right!?

For me, joining the 5 am ish club in order to work as a nurse and start a Financial Coaching business during COVID has been helpful. I start the morning working on my business, exercising and then going to my 8 hour nursing job. Luckily I am now part time instead of full time!

Now, GO and BE INTENTIONAL!

What are your Plan A and Plan B plans that you have for this upcoming school year?


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