So. The kids have been back to school for a month. For about three seconds, do your dance of joy, then come back to Earth with me because now, they’re in SCHOOL. Remember that? Homework, lunches, activities? Carpool, carpool, CARPOOL?!
Are you ready for all that?
Well, I am still not ready, but I’m going to pretend I am and tell you my best tip for surviving the school year with kids. I don’t know you (yet), but I like you, and I am going to share these and many other tips and stories with you because that’s what friends do.
It’s my Carpool Survival Kit. Here’s how to create one of your very own:
1) Get a small basket or bin or a tote bag that you got at some school fundraiser that you don’t need to see all the time.
2) Think of your kids’ activities. If your child plays any sports at all, you will need an extra sweatshirt for you and the sibling who does not play that sport. If your child plays hockey, you’ll need a blanket, too, and maybe some gloves. (Yes, gloves, even in early fall when it’s still 75 degrees out some days. It’s never 75 degrees in an ice rink. I’ve spent many an hour in summer and early fall sitting in the stands, with a blanket draped over my sandaled feet.) If your child plays soccer or baseball, grab the bug-repellent. (Those wipes are great because obviously you don’t want an aerosol exploding in your car, but they do dry out, so your best bet may be a spritz pump bottle.)
3) Think of your kids’ attitudes. Do they turn evil when they’re hungry or thirsty? Are they the reason someone coined the term, “hangry?” Throw in some granola bars or protein bars and water bottles or drink boxes. And this is not the time for the cheap ones you bought that they didn’t eat. These will be the only thing standing between you and total peace when a backseat fight breaks out in that small yet explosive stretch of time between school pickup and home arrival or practice/lesson drop off.
4) Think of your kids’ stages in life. We all have kids in different ages and stages, and so we have to pack accordingly. If you have a child in diapers, pack some diapers. (Check your kit every few weeks so you don’t end up with those diapers for tiny newborn bottoms when your “baby” has grown to the size and stature of a Honda Civic.) If you have a child who is trying to move beyond diapers (or you are trying to move them beyond diapers, and my heart goes out to you if that is you), then I cannot emphasize the importance of a change of clothes strongly enough here.
5) Add in some fun. Now, don’t get too crazy here, but think about how much time you spend in the car. If it’s a lot, and with me, it is, you’re going to hear the words, “Are we there yet?” and “I’m bored” a LOT in the next decade or two of your life. A coloring book, a notebook for writing or drawing, a couple magazines or books are easy to grab…and make sure you have the things they typically need for homework. A pencil, a pen, an eraser, some markers. Nothing is worse than knowing that if you only had a pencil, your child could have finished his math worksheet while his sibling took piano instead of bugging you to play with your phone ONE MORE TIME.
Now, you know that this is not a true “survival kit.” If you want a kit that is going to provide the supplies necessary for you to change a flat tire on a bridge in the middle of the night with a tornado watch going on, go to YouTube and look for the guys in camo. Or check out the REAL emergency kit intructions provided by our own Honda service team! And this is also not the cute little survival kit you see with the decoupaged bin and the personalized coloring books and the pencils with cute toppers. We are not going for a Pinterest-worthy presentation here.
We’re talking survival, fellow mamas. Just fly through your house and gather all this stuff up and throw it in the car. If you have an Accord, you can hide it in the trunk. If you’re more of an Odyssey or CR-V gal, hide it under the pile of re-usable grocery bags in the back so your kids don’t see it and pounce on it before you have a chance to pull it out like a magic trick to save the day.
And hurry. You’ve got to go get the kids at school in 5 minutes.
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