A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the End of the School Year


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The end of the school year is always a crazy, hectic time.  There are school concerts, events, meetings, and let’s not forget the paperwork!  As if you’re going to know in May if your 7-year-old is going to want to play violin in September.  And apparently, kids now “graduate” from every grade.  (Don’t get me started on that.)

On top of all this, toss in the fact that your kid has pretty much mentally checked out of school and is already fantasizing about summer, and it’s no wonder parents feel overwhelmed.

Go back to the beginning

Remember the beginning of the year when you had everything organized, a schedule that you followed with precision for at least 2-3 days, and your kid’s backpack wasn’t a black hole of pencil shavings and old fruit snacks?  Go back to that.

Clean out the backpack, get new folders if you have to.  I’ve seen the folders my middle schoolers take home and they’re basically 2 crumpled pieces of thick paper with flaps that used to be pockets.  Pony up the $2 for new folders to save your sanity.  It’s worth it.

Reestablish your routine (as much as possible).  Pack lunches the night before.  Get the kids to bed on time, even if it’s still light out.  Pick out outfits for the next day at bedtime.

Managing paperwork

The amount of paper that comes home from schools is, quite frankly, obscene.  As a teacher I understand, because too many people ignore emails, but as a mom it makes me want to scream.  Summer reading lists, field trip permission forms, PTO sign-ups, bake sale notifications… not to mention every single piece of paper your young children scribbled on throughout the day.

My suggestion is to face it, head on.  Go through your kid’s backpack first thing after school.  Sign what needs to be signed, and put it back in.  Ooh and aah at any “artwork”, put things like reading lists away for summer, and toss the rest.  It will take you less than 10 minutes and you won’t have to worry about it.

Make sure homework is done right away, too.

Keep It Simple.

No one cares if you bring store-bought brownies to the bake sale.  Yoga pants are a perfectly acceptable thing to wear to just about any school event.  You do not have to hand craft an elaborate end of the year gift for your kid’s teacher.  In fact, here’s a whole list of awesome things teachers love to get.

The end of the school year brings with it a flurry of activity, and lots of pressure to “help out” with everything.  Resist the urge.  You do not have to chaperone the field trip, run the book sale, and MC the school talent show.  Pick one thing and do that well rather than spreading yourself too thin.

If all else fails, know that summer is coming!

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