The date is circled on the magnetic dry-erase calendar on the
refrigerator and the kids are already well into the planning stages
for the first day of school. But as I reach into the freezer for
Monday pizza night, the date taunts me. I'm feeling a mix of
trepidation and anticipation about the new school year.
I'd love to tell you I'm perfectly prepared for the new year,
with supplies and clothes, all purchased on a reasonable budget,
and summer worksheets, all completed and checked. Instead, just
like every other year, despite my best intentions I'll be shopping
the leftovers from the back-to-school sales right along with the
other procrastinators. I'll be managing crazy morning routines that
leave me frustrated before I even hit traffic on the
We don't want you to end up scrambling like I do every year.
We've tried to help you in your own planning with this year's
back-to-school guide. Our staff tested boxes and
boxes of healthy snacks and lunch containers; plus we found some
creative snacks you can create yourself to make hitting the books
after a long day of school so much more fun. We looked at products
that stood out, but found only a few supplies this year that
merited a mention.
We also offer reports on waste-free
schools, ways to save money on
back-to-school shopping, tips for going allergy-free in your
child's classroom this year and the debate over whether tech toys
for the preschool set can really give them an edge over other
We've even offered simple ways to
streamline your mornings.
I found this
month's story by Web Editor Liz Hoffman particularly helpful in
the friend department. I wish I had such an easy-to-understand
guide about helping my kids make friends when they were younger.
Though they've always had friends, I'm not sure many of them are
the lifelong kinds of relationships we all crave.
The story on kids
abusing over-the-counter cough medicines for the high created
much discussion among the moms I've told about it. We'd all like to
think our kids would never ever ever do such a thing because we've
done a good job raising them correctly and teaching them about
drugs and right vs. wrong. But as we learn in writer Joe Menard's
story, it's a threat that should put all parents of tweens and
teens on the alert.
Most importantly, as you prepare for back to school, remember to
take a breath and savor these last days of summer with your kids.
As I am finding out myself, the kids grow up much too quickly.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.
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