Parents...rejoice! The kids are heading back to school! Oh, wait. Maybe you shouldn't rejoice too loudly. There's a lot of activity attached to the new school year.
If you're a parent – or you're talking to parents every day – you'll know that there are a lot of mixed emotions at the beginning of the school year. On the one hand, it means kids are getting back into a routine. On the other, it means a huge commitment of time and money.
Because the back-to-school rush is on mom's mind, here are a couple ways you can help her get ready for the new year:
1) Dedicate a section of your station's website to back to school helps and ideas. Whether you simply post supply lists for various school districts or you whip up some handy shopping list templates, make sure mom knows there's a place she can turn for information.
2) Share some school lunch recipes on your Facebook page. Sure, a lot of kids just grab school lunches, but some still brown-bag it. Dig up some fun, healthy and inexpensive ideas that mom can keep on hand.
3) Talk about safety. We all need to know some safety basics. Ask the local public information officer on your police force to share some common sense safety tips for bus stops, latch key kids and carpool lanes.
4) Give out branded planners. If you have enough time and cash, invest in some school-year planners for mom or her kids.
5) Collect some time-saving and organizational tips. Mom's got a lengthy to-do list for each morning. She's also working, picking up kids and helping with field trips and foodstuffs. Bring in an organizational specialist who can talk about ways to prep for the day and still keep up with kids and their homework.
6) Remind mom that it's ok not to do it all. WorkingMomsAgainstGuilt.com shares an interesting tip: Don't overschedule. “Don’t do it all. Give yourself a break. Be super choosy about the few commitments you make outside of work/school for you/your kids.” (Susan Wenner Jackson, 10 Back to School Tips for the Good Enough Mom)
7) Invite moms to put a weekly “love note” in their child's backpack or lunch bag. Just a sticky note with encouragement will do. Or get creative and make up a page of love notes that mom can copy or print. Share ideas online.
8) Write or share a “parent's prayer” that moms and dads can pray over their kids each day. Ask parents to share their prayers on your Facebook and Instagram pages.
9) Share some helpful budgeting ideas. Remind mom that it's ok to stay on budget when shopping for supplies and clothes.
10) Remind everyone to laugh a little. It's ok to relax. It's just school … not a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion. Although some days it might feel like it...
This is a time of year when you can be mom's hero! Help her plan for – and celebrate – the new school year!
Bill Arbuckle CMW