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Our Back-to-School Checklist

Back-to-School | Styled Her Life

The Back-to-School countdown is real. One of these days I’ll become the person who “stays ready” but until that day I’ll just work on not being the person who waits until the last minute to do…everything. Baby steps. To keep myself on track, I broke down what I need to do for the kiddies to get ready for Back-to-School. Two checklists for two kids in two different schools…and maybe a half day preschool program, though we’ll see. Make sure you grab the download at the end of the post and find your happy place checking off things as you go!

  • Make any outstanding doctor’s appointments. Especially for those kids entering a new school or heading to school for the first time. Don’t find yourself rushing around at the last minute trying to schedule that annual physical or dentist appointment.
  • Organize any medical and school records from previous year. Again, especially for those heading to new schools. Last year my son’s transcripts mysteriously went missing and we couldn’t get him completely registered without them. Not fun.
  • Buy all school supplies for school AND home. One thing that happens to me every year is that we buy all the supplies, send the kids off for the first day, they come home from school with nothing to do their homework or assignments I give them. Make sure to grab a few supplies while shopping to keep at home.
  • Buy school clothes. Thankfully we have uniforms in our district. With these growing boys I couldn’t imagine having to buy full out school wardrobes! Yikes.
    • Uniforms or regular clothes
    • Undergarments
    • Sneakers/Shoes
  • Purchase any other necessities your child may need. Backpacks, lunch boxes, umbrellas…a phone case for your tween O_O–can you tell I’m not ready? But seriously, I always forget umbrellas until a day when it rains. Don’t judge me.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. With the oldest heading off to a new school, a new schedule different than his siblings is on the agenda for the new year. Not to mention the kids have been living their lives this summer. No routine to be found so we’ll be phasing this in slowly within the next couple of weeks.
  • Introduce or change kids chore schedule. This summer was the first time we implemented real chores with allowance. I’ll share more about our chore schedule in another post but to give you an idea, everyone is involved. Even the almost 4 year old so regardless of your kids ages, starting chores or updating current chores is perfect for back to school season.
  • Discuss (and decide if you can) on what extracurriculars the kids will be involved in. My middle son is already screaming basketball and soccer. Swimming lessons are on the agenda because I said so. And the oldest is on the clock to offer up some suggestions before we choose for him ;).
  • Prepare a supplementary program for each child. I’m a firm believer that education starts at home. The past few years I have always had some kind of curriculum or program on hand to supplement what the kids were doing at school. This is especially important for our black children as our history isn’t always told right or at all in school. If you’re not into finding and creating your own program there are many options you can grab from your local bookstore or even Target which is were I got a yearly curriculum for last year for each child by grade.
  • Identify where you plan to help at school. You already know I am an advocate for parental involvement. It’s essential. Go into the school year with an idea of how or where you want to help before the year starts. Have a couple ideas on hand and make this a priority!
  • Buy a planner and schedule out the school year beforehand. Most districts should already have the updated academic calendars posted and be sure to check your individual school sites as well. Just get all the dates locked in early.
  • Finish all summer reading projects. While my 2nd grader didn’t have one to do, I created one for him so we’ll still be making sure he finishes well before the summer is over. The middle schooler has a full report due and we will not be starting off the year racing against the clock!
  • Create an organization area in your home where you’ll keep all the kids information, handouts, etc throughout the year. Once that first day comes you’ll be getting stuff non-stop so plan ahead so you don’t find yourself with papers, supplies, and who knows what else all over your house!

Hope this helps you get organized for busy Back-to-School season before the month gets away and remember click below for the printable! ~xoxo

Back-to-School Checklist

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Kids Motherhood

100 Days of Summer: Free Fun

100 Days of Summer: Playgrounds + Other Free Fun

I’m in one of those spaces where it’s both hard to believe that August is just around the corner and feeling like this just might be the longest summer ever. I read an article on Scary Mommy about a woman who felt SAHM’s tricked her by not telling her how hard it really is and I am feeling every bit of that as WAHM this summer. Like…what is this life?! There’s always so much to do and nobody told me it would be this hard. Let’s just say, I’m looking into part time preschool programs for the toddler in September because mama needs a break so I can actually work. Yup. A break so I can work.

Still, I wouldn’t trade this summer for the world. Spending time with the boys is priceless and having the flexibility to do all the things has allowed for some really awesome experiences–and a few sleepless nights racing against deadlines but I suppose that’s part of the package ;).

100 Days of Summer: Playgrounds + Other Free Fun

Budget friendly has been the name of the game around here and we’ve been taking advantage of all the free stuff Philly has to offer as well as creating some memories of our own at home. Discovering new parks, checking out local events, visiting our season favorites, is how we spent the month of July. And when nothing was on the schedule, the water hose is always an option.

100 Days of Summer: Free Fun

How’s your summer going? ~xoxo

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Kids Motherhood

100 Days of Summer: Parks with Sprinklers

100 Days of Summer | Styled Her Life

I was having one of those kind of days. A ton of client work, restless kids, and a messy office which was wreaking havoc on my ability to focus on getting anything done. It was also an irritably hot and humid afternoon right after a long holiday weekend. Though, if I’m being honest, weekends and weekdays all mesh together these days. In my mind though, I was having a tough time getting in the flow of things.

An hour or two before the hubs came home from teaching class–hip hop with an energetic group of kids–to bless me with maybe 5 glorious minutes of silence and solitude before dinner prep began, the toddler and the middle one had a shouting match. This probably was the third one of the day.

We’re going to the park!

I love how the park has this magical effect on my boys at this age. My wallet loves it too. City living has given us a handful of choices within walking distance and the dreamy ‘burbs just outside walking distance provide us with a few more along with hiking trails, creeks, and abundant greenery (hello nature walks and lunch in the park). We settled on the one 2 minutes away because, tired, hot, humid.

I was ready for the energizing bliss of the park with boys. The older ones would shoot some hoops, the little would run around, I’d catch up on a podcast while pushing a swing. Little did I know, the levels of magic were about to increase by a million. Why?

They. Had. Sprinklers.

100 Days of Summer | Styled Her Life

What I thought would be a quick 20 – 30 minute park trip turned into over an hour. The little things they enjoy, watching them play together, having the flexibility to witness it all. These are the moments that make it all worth it <3.

~xoxo

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Kids Motherhood

Leading By Example

Last week the hubs shared this super cute video of him and two of our boys. I must have watched it a thousand times. I mean, seriously, it gets no cuter and I’m not just saying that because they’re mine ;). We’ve both shared it a few times on social media–because yes it deserved more than just one share–but it was his most recent tweet that inspired this post. He captioned the video: Lead by example.

Something that has always been important to us, especially raising black boys in America, is teaching them that despite what the world may say or think about you, you can be whatever you want to be. What better way to teach that than setting the example. On the surface, this really is just a cute video of a Dad dancing with his kids. But below that, there’s a message. The babies are watching 😉 ~xoxo

“The hubs” is actually a professional hip hop dancer, teacher, choreographer. You can see more of his work and these cute kids on liquidelphia.com*

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Kids Motherhood

Bonding with the Boys

Bonding with the Boys | styled her life

A few weeks back I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts while I was cooking dinner. It was a live Being Boss episode and one of the topics was something about connecting the dots between what your values are and what you’re doing in your day to day life. One of the hosts asked listeners to do this simple exercise to list 4 or 5 hardcore values that you have and then list 4 or 5 things that you do each day. Although it sounds really basic, this super simple task was a real eye opener because I found that my lists were complete opposites. Mind blown. I had things like my kids, my relationship with God, my community on my values list but yet on my daily list I had client work, checking email, and scrolling social media. Disconnection for real. Now that’s not to say that those daily tasks aren’t necessary, I mean mama’s gotta pay the bills, but to not spend time doing the things that I say truly important to me on a daily basis, is a real problem. I immediately started to think about what changes I could implement daily to make my lists more cohesive when my son ran in the kitchen asking me about “Pizza Friday”. Light bulb!

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