Good Grief! Another Holiday…

Yes, Labor Day is Monday. Another holiday is upon us with all its potential pitfalls and disasters surrounding gatherings with friends and families. And while we don’t like to expect the worst, of course when you have a RAD kiddo you have to stay on alert for “which kiddo” is going to show up at any holiday function. So with that, good grief, another holiday!

Labor Day is generally the last big party of summer. The time to close down the pool, put away the patio furniture (depending on where you live) and for some children the last hurrah before school starts (if it hasn’t already). Sometimes it’s a cookout with the family. Maybe it’s a block party with the neighborhood. It could be a pool party at the country club. Whatever it is, it could be a crowd of people that may or may not be up to speed on your RAD kiddo’s behaviors.

So it’s Monday afternoon and you’re at the pool and there’s hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill and things are going fairly smoothly. All of the sudden, there’s a shriek and you see that your RAD kiddo has ripped a pool noodle away from another child and whacked them with it. And now you’re in damage control mode. You’ve got to make sure the child is OK. Then, you’ve got to apologize to the parents. You’ve got to figure out why this happened. So you talk to your RAD kiddo. And if it’s like the other times, the answer makes no sense.

Now what? Do you go home? Can you recover from this and salvage the day? Will the parents trust your child with their children now? If you punish your RAD kiddo for what they did, will they accept the consequences or will there be rage? Do you want to take the chance? And…good grief, another holiday!

There are no simple answers to these questions. If your RAD kiddo is like August, it seems like every holiday is a brand new challenge. I couldn’t look back on Independence Day to consider how he might act in this scenario as evidence. In a perfect world we could know whether our RAD kiddos could handle themselves in these situations but unfortunately that’s not our situation. We live in the world of the unpredictable, on edge and ever-changing.

What’s the answer? Ditch the Labor Day festivities in order to avoid the potential explosion? Could there be a way to run interference? Well I don’t have a definite answer. I don’t think you should ditch the party unless you can do something way better like fly to Hawaii. And I think we all know there’s no way to prevent the blow-up if it’s going to happen.

But here are a couple of ideas that might help calm the potential storm:

  • Do something with your RAD kiddo over the weekend prior (may just the two of you if possible) that they want to do and talk about the upcoming party and what you expect
  • Keep your RAD kiddo close by at the party. If you keep them engaged with you and show them what you’re expecting of their behavior, they will have less chances to forget!
  • Make sure they have their own toys, pool equipment, etc. You don’t have to go crazy but jealousy is a RAD kiddo’s kryptonite.
  • Make sure you’re praising their good behavior often during the event. The more you catch them doing good, the more likely they will continue!

After Labor Day it’s less than two months until Halloween when we start the holiday dance all over…with buckets of candy! Ack! Have a great weekend!

Until next time,

Shannon

Doing the School Lunch Shuffle

This would not be a popular lunch for August…no dessert!

I have vivid memories of wandering the grocery store aisles trying to figure out what I might be able to put in August’s lunch that he might actually eat. I was getting tired of spending time packing a healthy lunch that comes back almost completely as I sent it. Except for the dessert. And then as soon as he hit the door of the house he was famished. But by then it was too close to dinner to give him as much food as he wanted! Doing the school lunch shuffle was a constant battle of sending him to school hoping he’d eat the food with no control over whether that would actually happen.

If you’re RAD kiddo is like mine, food is a big control issue. August was a food hoarder from almost day one. He was amazing at sneaking down at night and getting food from the kitchen. Then making it back upstairs with us in the next room. I was shocked. When he got old enough to go to school, he also got diagnosed with ADHD (it seems with Reactive Attachment Disorder, our children get a package deal of other acronyms as well) so getting him to sit still for a meal was an effort. But we knew that protein was important so there was pre-cooked bacon in the morning before school and as much meat as we could get him to eat in the evening.

We didn’t want to medicate him but in conversations with his teacher it became apparent that was going to be necessary. Unfortunately, most ADHD meds have an appetite suppressant side effect. That also played a role in his lack of appetite during the day. But the reality was he just couldn’t be bothered to eat the good stuff. However he could always manage to eat the cookies or the cake!

Do you have one of these? If so, how do you help get the good food in when you send them off to school? Certainly for our RAD kiddos a big key to success is control. The more you can let them be in charge of what goes into their lunches the better results you are likely to get. Within reason, and depending on age, you can let them make choices of what they want. Apple or grapes? Ham and cheese or PB&J? Chips or Doritos? The more they feel in control of the food choices, the more likely they are to eat what they’ve picked.

Also, make it fun! Now this requires a little advanced planning which may be hard for families where everyone works out of the house. But I did some searching and found some sites that had some fun ideas. These are ones that the kiddos could help with and could be done over the weekend. So you can have the whole week’s lunches done!

This one has 100 ideas! Some are very simple and some are more involved but many can be made ahead. And these are super creative and cute and sure to make your child the winner at the lunch table!

So when you’re doing the school lunch shuffle, choice and creativity are the keys to success! Good luck on making healthy lunches your child will love all year long!

Until next time,

Shannon

Pair Care: Self-care for Couples

This is not an area I am qualified about which to write. My marriage did not survive our efforts to heal August and hold our relationship together as well. But I did learn a lot from that experience which I think I can share. Hopefully some ideas on pair care: self-care for couples will work to help maintain your team which is so essential for keeping your sanity with a RAD kiddo in the house.

I love hot tea so this one spoke to me!

There will naturally be some aspects of RAD kiddo interaction that one partner might be better at handling than another. One may have more patience with homework and one may handle bedtime better. Having some conversations with each other about what might be the best division of labor helps you each play to your own strengths. That’s the first step to making sure you each don’t get burned out doing child-care that is more taxing than it needs to be. There will of course be times when you have to do something you don’t want to but keeping it to a minimum is the goal.

When you do get some free time as a couple, make sure you take full advantage of it. And that doesn’t mean copping out with dinner and a movie. It’s important that your time together is meaningful and substantial. Try something that gets you engaged together and talking rather than just in the same place at the same time. Try some of these ideas:

  • A picnic
  • A dinner at a place where you can take your time
  • A museum
  • A hike

As you can see the idea with these choices is doing things that promote talking, engagement and togetherness. Just being in the same place at the same time doesn’t count. There are other things you can do on a daily basis that will help make sure that time doesn’t pass without taking care of the relationship. Some ideas may include:

  • Leaving each other notes of affirmation
  • Small gifts
  • Doing small things that help out (getting gas for the car, laundry)
  • Find even a few moments of quiet time together
Many of these things are essential. Not sure about fairness…sometimes you have to go beyond halfway. It always works out.

For some more ideas, check out this article. The bottom line is make sure you keep each other well through also dealing with your RAD kiddo. It will be easy to get buried in the chaos of RAD. Don’t let it happen!

Until next time,

Shannon

Friday Night Family Night

The school week and the work week are over. You’d like to do something as a family but what? Dinner and movie can set a family of four back $200 depending on where you live and choose to eat. Can’t do that every week. And with a RAD kiddo that may not be the best choice. Plus if you’re all a little on the tired side, that may be the recipe for meltdowns or fights when all you really want to do is have some fun and relax. So let’s just talk about how to do Friday night family night right at home.

The kids may not think that seems like much fun but there’s plenty of ways to make it exciting. And it may seem like a lot of work to you but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few easy and fun ideas that will involve the whole family!

  • Invent a new recipe – Let each member of the family pick an ingredient and see what it makes! You may not think marshmallow/rice/peanut butter/popcorn will be delicious but you know, keep an open mind!
  • Build a house of cards – I realized the other day that I’ve never done this with my boys. And then I had a flash of that scene from The Brady Bunch where they build a huge house of cards and one of the children or the dog knocks it down…they were having so much fun! In the age of non-stop technology some of those old fashioned game ideas are lost. But depending on the ages, they can find it really fun and interesting. 
  • Make a blanket fort and read books out loud – Now if you have all teenagers you might not be able to sell this one. But if you have younger kids you will win parenting! A parent that will not only help build the fort but will crawl inside is super cool. And you get the added benefit of getting them to read! If you turn it into a slumber party, add 30 points.
  • Game Night – The boys loved it when we would all play board games together (except Monopoly, that never ended well). And you’d be surprised how even the most sullen teenager can get excited about a game of Clue. Let each child pick a game they want (no one gets veto power unless someone is too young to play) and have a blast! Give a reward for the winner.

Of course in a pinch you can always do a movie night at home but these are some other ideas that might be a little more entertaining and engaging. For some other ideas, check out these and these

Your children will love seeing your fun side and you will love saving some money and having an easy Friday night family night at home.

Until next time,

Shannon

What’s in the News?

As I started searching for this month’s appearances of reactive attachment disorder in the news, two items jumped out at me. One a column from a man named John Rosemond. In it a couple who was turned down for approval to adopt asks him for his opinion on the agency’s decision.

See Mr. Rosemond has some particularly pointed theories on child rearing which go against the adoption agency’s and the couple agreed with his ideas. You can read the story here. He mentions in his answer that he is somewhat suspicious of reactive attachment disorder and that his experience has shown that children who are parented with firm boundaries never exhibit any of those behaviors. A “Nancy Thomas” type camp but even a little more extreme in that it can include spanking and other fairly harsh punishments.

I remember when we were preparing to adopt August we had to sign a piece of paper promising we would never spank him. As any parent of a RAD kiddo can attest, that can be a hard promise to keep. They can push all the buttons, be the last straw, whatever cliche you need to use to mean getting you to your breaking point and keeping you there. Mr. Rosemond disagreed that RAD kiddos or adopted children in general should be treated differently because of any past abuse and that his parenting styles would work just fine. Not sure I’m buying that.

The second article was shocking because it happened right here in Terre Haute where I live! And I’d heard nothing about it! I applaud the family for being able to keep it quiet in my sleepy little town where everything seems to make the news…this morning National Potato Day was part of the morning drive bulletin.

But the summary is a couple’s biological children were grown so they decided to adopt. One boy through an agency then two more over time through a different agency. When the first and third boys started having behavioral and physical problems they started to investigate and came to find that the middle boy had been molesting them. You can get the full story here. The couple had been misled by the adoption agency regarding the boy’s sexual history and even his age (he was several years older).

So now they have two boys with PTSD, have had to leave Terre Haute to try and help them heal and the other boy is a ward of the state. All because the adoption agency lied. Haven’t these boys been through enough?

I’m sorry that the first couple wasn’t approved to adopt, I’m sure they’re lovely people. But there’s a reason corporal punishment isn’t recommended with adopted children. August wouldn’t have been able to tell me if spanking him triggered some horrible memory of something he’d endured with his birth family. He didn’t speak English for the first few months.

And as for the second family, those boys who were hurt had finally gotten the chance at a happy, normal life only to have it stolen by a greedy adoption agency only focused on numbers and profits. They should be ashamed. These children have enough hurdles to overcome without adding unnecessary ones on top.

Until Next Time,

Shannon

Developing a School Crisis Management Plan

Every child has their own triggers and pressure points. It’s hard to know what will set them off. Your RAD kiddo may have completely different “freak out” points than my August. And probably does. So when it comes to what happens at school, there’s no telling what’s going to be the thing that breaks them. But developing a school crisis management plan can go a long way toward being prepared for any situation.

August had a variety of different crisis plans over the years. And they dealt with a variety of different situations that would set him off. We have always worked with both his teachers and administrators to set up plans that would benefit him but not be disruptive to the class. Because the goal was to help August stay calm but also to make sure the classroom can function. 

The conversation always took place with me, the IEP teacher (or even better the whole team), his primary teacher and someone from the administration (Dean, Principal, counselor). It helps to get all angles on the issue and to make sure we are doing what is allowed. My job is to explain August. What will set him off, how will he react, what might work to diffuse any situations.

With August it was a couple different things. He had ADHD on top of the RAD so his energy had energy. And sometimes his anxiety over being cooped up for long periods would get the better of him. We made a plan with his fourth grade teacher that when that happened that he could sign out just like he was going to the bathroom and go run the track. Now this was made much easier by the fact that his classroom that year was in a trailer. He could go out and the teacher could see him on the track. And being outside was also very calming for August in addition to burning energy. And no one knew he wasn’t in the bathroom!

The other thing that set him off were substitute teachers. He developed bonds with his primary teachers and subs didn’t know him. Plus all the students in his classes were louder and more rowdy when there was a substitute. And we were finding that he was getting in trouble a lot when there was a sub. So we gave him an “out”. If he felt overwhelmed, he was allowed to tell the sub he wanted to go to the office. That would remove him from the environment that would tempt him to act out. Then he could spend whatever time he needed in the office doing work or just reading. 

Middle School was more difficult. It seemed to be harder to get something that worked. We tried a lot of things. One of them was a “blue card” which was just a simple laminated blue card. He kept it with him at all times and any time he was feeling overwhelmed or like he was about to lose it, he could just put the card on his desk. Once the teacher saw it, he could leave and go to the office and see the counselor. That way there didn’t need to be a big conversation or argument, the teacher couldn’t say no (that was HUGE) but August wasn’t allowed to abuse the tool either. 

Expectations in high school were such that it was harder to put a system in place to handle any meltdowns. I explained (again) what reactive attachment disorder was all about and why it was different than other disorders. Also why it needed different considerations. He was allowed to wear a rubber bracelet (thinking Live Strong) to help with anxiety and we did implement the “blue card” system we had used in middle school. They were just less willing to accommodate “out of the box” behavior at that age. 

As with everything when it comes to your RAD kiddo, you know them best. Don’t be afraid to suggest whatever you think will make it easiest on both them and the teacher. Make sure the teacher understands you are trying to keep the classroom calm as well as your child. And if your child is of an appropriate age, bring them into the conversation. I also included August’s psychiatrist in a call with the Middle School team at one point. I needed him to help explain RAD when I wasn’t getting my point across. Once trouble starts for your child at school…at least this is what I experienced with August…it seems like it follows them from grade to grade.

But find something that will work and help your RAD kiddo manage the times when their minds get the better of them. And continue to work with them to develop better coping skills of their own. Celebrate every quarter or semester that the “escape valve” doesn’t need to be used as a moment of growth and maturity! And hopefully over the years you won’t need it at all!

Until next time,

Shannon

 

What’s on My “To Read” List

This has always been one of my favorite sayings.

So many books, so little time. I have multiple topics I love to read about. But within those topics there are so many good books! I try to stay up on what’s current in Reactive Attachment Disorder but obviously self-care is also big on my list! And with August’s current prison stay, I’m now moving into looking for books to help me understand what to expect afterward. But what’s on my “to read” list is a constantly moving target!

In the area of books on RAD, there are not a lot of new books being published on the topic. The work being done on possibly changing the name is still under consideration so no one has published a full book on the subject. Nevertheless, there are some new books that have come out in the last few months. I haven’t read them so this isn’t a recommendation of any sort. But based on my research they look promising.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Books

  • Reversing Reactive Attachment Disorder: Overcoming Cravings The Raw Vegan Plant-Based Detoxification & Regeneration Workbook for Healing Patients. Volume 3– I know the effect of food on RAD has always been a hot topic. When August was little it was food dyes and Dr. Feingold’s diet. This one uses what is now known about the benefits of a plant-based diet focused on RAD.
  • Love Never Quits: Surviving and Thriving After Infertility, Adoption and Reactive Attachment Disorder– This is one family’s story of adopting a child from Guatemala who has RAD. After years of infertility they adopted one, then a second child and that one had RAD. She deals with her years of struggle with all these issues and the emotional roller coaster ride that it takes the family on. It sounds like the story of my life!
  • My Self Healing Journal Surviving Reactive Attachment Disorder: Prompt Journal For Families Surviving RAD/Reactive Attachment Healing Journal/Reactive Attachment Diary– This is a self-published journal and each page includes a writing prompt to help you with getting out your feelings about life with a RAD kiddo. If you don’t have a great support group and need some place to vent your feelings, this may be a good option.

The other topic I keep an eye on is help for school. This one is harder because the issues tend to be more subject-specific or child-specific. But here are a few that looked interesting:

  • Helping Children Manage Anxiety at School: A Guide for Parents and Educators in Supporting the Positive Mental Health of Children in Schools– Anxiety can infect so much of a child’s performance at school. And RAD kiddos who feel shame and have no control don’t have to look far for sources of anxiety. Add to that learning disabilities and they can have so many strikes against them. Managing anxiety can go a long way toward creating a successful school experience.
  • Lessons from the Listening Lady: Adolescents & Anxiety A family guide to making the mind, body, spirit connection– This has the same goal as the previous book but it is specifically targeted toward adolescents.
  • Words Will Never Hurt Me: Helping Kids Handle Teasing, Bullying and Putdowns– This one looked particularly interesting. August had a rough patch with bullying in late elementary school (when your name is also a month…) His quick temper and grandiose opinion of himself didn’t help him handle it well. I wish I would have had a way to better handle talking to him about dealing with it.

The last section is self-care and that is a monumental list that I could write about forever, but the easiest way to help with this is to recommend goodreads. If you’re not there, you should be! You can connect with friends and share what you’re reading, what you want to read and what you’ve read. You can look for what celebrities are reading! And you can browse by subject to get information on what the goodreads universe is reading to see what is recommended in about every genre. I’m not copping out but their self-help section is particularly good. And, of course, there’s an app for that!

Roald Dahl has been and continues to be one of mine and the boys favorite author. If he’s not as familiar to you, Google him. You’ll be amazed!

I am sure there are many more you might be reading and I would love for you to share them! And as I get through these I will post reviews! I will also move these titles and more information over to the resources page for easier referencing!

Until next time,

Shannon

Organizational Ideas for RAD Children

NOTE: This didn’t get done on Friday as I enjoyed my last few days with my youngest. He left yesterday (ugly crying!) so I am back to work! Thank you for your patience while I rearranged the schedule a bit!

One of the biggest issues that children with reactive attachment disorder have is with what is officially termed “executive function”. This encompasses everything that has to do with organizational skills. And for our RAD kiddos this is an area they have a real problem with.

I know for years August and I struggled to find ways to make it easier for him to keep school papers together and keep track of assignments. It seemed like we tried every combination of folder, notebook, agenda and calendar system we could find both for school and home. With mixed successes because of both his lack of executive function and unfortunately his lack of interest in school. With a dash of ADHD thrown in for good measure!

This can be a great source of stress and tension with you and your RAD kiddo. Because it’s a never ending game of “the dog ate my homework” when you are constantly trying to find assignments and papers. When schoolwork in many cases is already enough of a struggle, just finding the paper shouldn’t add to the anxiety.

So how to make the whole organization process work? There are several things you can do at home. But it really needs to be a school/home partnership to make it truly successful. 

  • Establish A Relationship with the Teacher – Of course you’re going to go to Back to School night or Meet the Teacher night or whatever it’s called where you live. But you’re going to need a method of communicating that probably goes beyond the norm. When August started school I debated about volunteering in his classroom just to be another set of ears. But I decided that it would create too much anxiety for him. But not being in the classroom means you have to have a relationship with the teachers that lets them know you’re involved. You aren’t going to let your child slide but you can communicate their issues and problem-solve together. Sometimes I would tell teachers that their homework assignments were too much for him. It just was. You know your child best. Help them help your child be successful.
  • Write it down – When August was in middle school they issued each child an agenda. They were school year-based calendars customized for their school. They were to be used to keep track of homework and projects. Teachers had the students write their homework in the agendas for that class for that day. Well that works fine if your child knows what day it is and isn’t distracted by well…everything. And fails to write it down. Nowadays I know much more information is available online but that is only if the teacher chooses to use that tool. You can make it a part of your child’s IEP (and if you don’t have an IEP, GET ONE) that their homework notes are signed off on by the teacher. That way they bring home an accurate accounting of what they need to do.
  • Try Different Timelines – When August was in kindergarten, his teacher would give them a packet of homework at the beginning of each month. That way they could work at their own pace. If they had a bad day, then they could take the day off. This is also an excellent plan for our RAD kiddos. Depending on the age, a whole month of homework may not be feasible. But maybe you could talk to the teacher about a week at a time. That way, if there was a day in the week that your RAD kiddo just isn’t in a good place, you have time to recover and move on.
  • Let them be part of the process – When setting up a homework station, let your RAD kiddo help with the location (within reason), design, colors, pens, pencils, papers, etc. RAD is very much about control and the more they feel like they have made the choices, the more likely it is they will use the space. The same will go for other aspects of organization: picking out a backpack, an agenda, folder colors and on and on.

These are some ideas that have worked for me in the past. Here are some other tips for both school and home. And this article helps to teach organizational skills outside of the school environment. Please share your tips and tricks that have worked for you. We all get better when we work together!

Until next time,

Shannon

First Day of School for RAD Children

NOTE: As I enjoy my last few days with my younger son before he heads back to North Carolina,
I have tried to scale back my work a bit.
So today, enjoy a Tuesday/Wednesday combo blog!

We’ve talked all around this for the last few weeks about how to be prepared for the first day of school. But now that the first day is here…what are the best ways to make sure your RAD kiddos have a great first day? The first day of school for RAD children can be overwhelming. The first day of school for ANY children can be! Let’s talk about where the hurdles might be and where to run interference to ensure a great first day experience!

The night before is where you can make a huge impact on how the first day will go. Not only in preparation but in how you set the stage emotionally. As for preparation, consider these tips:

  • Create the “launch pad” (my favorite!) spot where everything for the next day is ready to go
  • Pick out that perfect outfit!
  • Set the alarm with your child (or two or three!)

But here are some other things you can do which can help your RAD kiddo with their fears and anxiety which may be weighing the night before. 

  • Ask them to describe what they imagine their first day will look like. 
  • If they have a friend who will be going to the same school, maybe a phone call or Facetime before bed.
  • If they are smaller, draw a picture of their first day of school.
  • Ask them what you can do that will help them the most. 

The morning of school might seem like chaos and overwhelming for all of you. The best thing you can do no matter what else happens is to keep calm. Focus on your children, keep your cool and make it about their comfort and calm. You can have your nervous breakdown later after they have successfully gotten off for the day.

Some things to plan for that first morning:

  • Make sure there’s a good breakfast (protein is important for good brain function!)
  • Ask them what they want you to do at school. They may want you to be with them all the way to the classroom. They may be ready just to be dropped off. Be OK with their choice.
  • Make sure the morning is about joy. Even if it’s pouring down rain. 
  • Make a plan to celebrate after school is over.

Here are some other fun ideas on of all things a marriage site! But don’t be afraid to let your children – even your RAD kiddo lead the way on what they need on that first day. 

 

What Happens to You When School Starts

It may seem like parents get released from summer prison when school starts. No more trying to entertain bored children who don’t seem to want to do anything you suggest. No more endless family vacations inevitably wrecked by meltdowns or horrible weather or fights or any of a million other possibilities. And school couldn’t start soon enough. But somehow it seems you’ve just jumped off the teacups and onto the roller coaster! Now there’s carpool and homework and after school activities and lunches and summer already seems light years away. So what happens to you when school starts?

It can be very easy to go on “automatic pilot” at the beginning of the school year. We get that schedule humming and feel like we’re hitting on all cylinders because we’ve not left anyone sitting on the curb at school after soccer practice (yet). And there haven’t been any calls from the dean’s office (yet). So far none of your kiddos has had a sick day (yet). But in all of your amazing planning and scheduling you’ve left out the most important person in the equation – YOU.

If you manage to keep this schedule running like clockwork you’ll be dead by Thanksgiving. There’s no way to go full steam ahead all day every day with RAD kiddos plus siblings in tow through a busy school year and not take intentional time to decompress. And I can almost guarantee on that master schedule on the kitchen wall is no “ME time” anywhere. Go look. I’ll wait.

When school starts back up and the whole world is depending on you it is the absolute best time to double down on your efforts at self-care. Especially if you find yourself with some kid-free hours during the day. If you work an additional job on top of the parenting, then those hours may be taken, but we will figure out a time to get in some quality self-care, I promise.

First let’s look at what might have gotten lost in the shuffle. I’m going to guess reading for pleasure, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, quiet time or meditation. Losing any or all of those can start to weigh on you mentally and physically after just a few days not to mention weeks if you are deprived of them.

But you may feel guilty about trying to spend that much time when the schedule is so overloaded with the chaos of school. So we will have to move into “wild” self-care; finding time for yourself in the maybe the more unlikely of times and spaces!

  • Reading in the carpool lane – I always kept a book in the car. Even if I was reading something else in the house. I kept something in the car to read while I was waiting to pick whoever up from whatever. Now not everyone may be able to read multiple books at once but if you can, this is a treasure. You’re alone, it’s quiet, bring a cup of tea, leave earlier than you need to be there (you get my drift…) When both boys were in school every once in a while I would be too tired to read and my youngest would read to me (if the book was appropriate). I’d close my eyes and he’d read to me. It was heaven. That’s how he got hooked on The Hunger Games at eight years old!
  • Getting Exercise – getting to the gym may not be anywhere on the schedule but it doesn’t mean you can’t get in some cardio around the kiddos’ activities. Soccer practice? Walk the track while you wait. Is school close? Walk there with the kiddos when the weather is still nice out. Or stay after school with them one day and bring a basketball and shoot hoops. Make a game out of math homework with hopscotch for the little ones. Particularly with RAD kiddos, exercise and homework seem to be a good pairing I have found.
  • Healthy Eating – The temptation to make yet another run through “insert fast food restaurant name here” is great when school is in. I know. When you have two hours between the end of play practice and the beginning of choir practice to get the kiddos home, fed and homework done, those golden arches can be your best friend. And those little body metabolisms may not take much of a hit, but boy you know you will! So what’s the answer? Make the instant pot and crock pot your friends. Throw something in there in the morning and let it cook all day and then serve it up the minute you get home. You’d be amazed and what those things can create! Also meal prepping on the weekends and freezing things that can go in a crock pot or quickly in a skillet. My kids love meatloaf. I’d make them in muffin tins and freeze them. I took them out of the tins and put them in big ziploc bags. Take out how many you need and put them on a baking sheet, bake (takes less time because they’re smaller) and throw together a salad and you’re good to go!

These are just some ideas of how to reclaim your self-care in the chaos of the school year. If you need something to put next to that master schedule, here’s a great checklist! I’d love to hear your ideas of how you keep YOU in mind when school starts! 

Until next time,

Shannon