Have you ever wondered how you can prepare for the back-to-school season? In this episode, Camille shares her tried and true tips for things that she has done to prepare for the busy school season and how you can get your kids back into the routine of things.
If you’re interested in learning about different strategies you can use for back-to-school season, tune into this episode to hear Camille’s ten strategies that deal with space and time management and establishing routines and good communication.
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CAMILLE WALKER [0:00]
Talking and communicating with your kids is essential in having a smooth body of work. That’s not what I meant to say, but you know what I mean like a good operating ship. This is also really helpful if there are chores that need to get done that you talk about those ahead of time in a family meeting and then also talking about what’s going to be happening during the week and during the day so that everyone’s helping for the success of the home and the way that everything is operating together.
So, you want to make an impact. You’re thinking about starting a business sharing your voice? How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We’ll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Hello, party people. This is Camille Walker. I am your host of Call Me CEO and this is a special part two series of getting ready for a busy season. And with school starting right around the corner, I wanted to create a couple of episodes just for you as a parent to prepare for this busy season.
Now, if you haven’t heard my episodes before, this is your first time, typically I am interviewing other mothers who are building businesses and how they balance life and business and doing what they love. So, I hope that you’ve checked out other episodes. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and be a part of this amazing group of women. This has been incredible to be a part of this. I’m actually getting really close to episode 100, which is crazy.
And in these three episodes, I really wanted to step into the shoes of the mother or the father or the parent or caretaker of children and what it’s like to go into a busy season whether it’s school or holidays or different things like that. But this episode specifically is for parents preparing for school and these are tried and true tips for things that I’ve done. So, this is a solo episode and I’m going to share with you some of the things that have worked for me.
A little back history on my own journey of motherhood, I am a mother of four. My children right now are ages 6, 8, 11, 14. So, this is my first year going into having all of my kids in school full-time, which is insane. And one of my passions is teaching other women how to build businesses that they love and creating opportunities to be able to parent and also to chase after your dreams. So, if that is something that you’ve ever been curious about, I would encourage you to reach out to me personally where I can help coach you through that and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. Let’s dive in.
Let’s talk about how you can achieve your goals and also prep for the busy season, in this case, being school. Just like any other thing that we are starting in motherhood, we go through seasons of pushing and pulling back. In school time, I feel like it’s a push time especially right in the beginning where we’re trying to figure out the new routines. How do you create space and time for you as a parent and how are you creating systems in your home that help you operate and live within a smooth cohesive environment in a home? It can be done.
Let’s talk about ways that we can help do that as we prepare for school and get our kids back into the routine of things. I don’t know about you, but even a few years later after having the pandemic and homeschooling, I am so pumped about sending my kids to school because I love the social interaction that they get. I love that they can be with teachers and in an environment of learning and I love that it also gives me space and time to pursue my own things I need to get done.
There’s just a lot to do and I feel like we as people operate better when we have communities and support systems and everything else like that. So, for this episode, I wanted to start with number one, planning and preparing and thinking ahead. This may be something that you’ve already started to do, but these are a coupe of tactics that really worked well for me.
I right now am recording this on August 5th. School starts for us on the 23rd, so if this is getting to you a little bit late, I apologize about that because I know in some other states, people are starting next week. We don’t start for a couple of weeks. So, I hope that this is helping you in some regard in that space.
For us first, I like to do inventory. So, my first tip here is to think about the inventory of things that you currently have, what you need to buy, both in your home and also for school supplies, and also what you may need in your kitchen because now you may be prepping dinners differently, you may be prepping lunches differently and even breakfast differently if you have kids that are going sooner than others or things that you need to be prepared for in advance.
This is not my favorite thing, one of the best things and one of the things that’s not easy, it’s not my favorite, is going through their clothes. What do they actually have and what still fits them? What do we need to pass down to little brother? What do we need to donate that has many holes, which is now in style, so you hang on to those in different ways? But what is it that you have and what do you need to buy? Because one of the worst things is when you go to a store, you get to the place where you’re doing back-to-school shopping and you have no idea what you’re working with or what you need to buy.
One of the things that my sons just did today, my 14-year-old and my 8-year-old is they did an inventory of their closets. One was bringing down an old box of things that belong to my oldest son and now fit my younger son and another was for my oldest to go through and literally write down what clothes he had and also what clothes he needs for the new school year. A lot of times, that includes new socks, new underwear, new shoes, and to have a game plan before going into the store.
My parents, when I was growing up, they would give us a dollar amount. I think at the time I could be remembering this wrong, but I think we were given $200 to do our back-to-school shopping and that was the limit. That was including a backpack, shoes, clothes, and it was just enough to get a couple of outfits.
Obviously, I think that would be a little bit higher now that it’s many years down the road, but I think it’s a good idea for you to come up with a dollar amount of what you want to allocate for your back-to-school spending. And that way, I think your children are a little more careful what they really want or need if they know that there’s a game plan in place.
So, I would encourage you to look at your inventory, consider clothing swaps, look at the state of your lunches and backpacks or lunchboxes rather and see what really needs to be swapped out and what things you can continue to reuse or recycle or repurpose as far as bringing clothes down to the younger kids and making space for what you really need.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of times, I get swept away in the excitement of back-to-school shopping, you guys. I love shopping for new school supplies. What’s funny though is last year, I bought school supplies in advance. I actually ordered some of them with Walmart delivery, which was amazing.
But I found that a lot of times, I was purchasing things that either the teachers were providing or I didn’t buy exactly the right size of folder or file or whatever it was. I would encourage you to buy the things that you know you need for your own home purposes. Maybe that’s pencils or erasers, markers, things like that.
But you may want to wait on buying it all. Every school and every location is different. So, consider that of what you have, what you may need, and then move forward with that, but starting now or ahead of time is always better than that last-minute rush.
Another tip for you is if you can’t get to back-to-school shopping right now, I have found that the very best sales on shoes or clothing oftentimes comes after back-to-school, so after Labor Day sales or after you can get an even better deal. So, I like to shop in July when there’s a lot of sales and they’re trying to clear out for fall and back-to-school items or right after. Keep that in mind as you’re planning maybe some of those tools will help you.
Number two is to create a wakeup and bedtime routine before school starts. I know that this is really hard and it’s something I try to remind myself of. But the best thing that’s worked for us is doing increments of 10-15 minutes a week before school starts. So, if you want your kids to be going to bed let’s say at 8 o’clock, but they’re used to going to bed at 9 or 9:30, try each night to work it back 15 minutes at a time, 15 minutes at a time, 15 minutes at a time until you get to that space where you want to be back into that routine.
That works out best for me if I incorporate some kind of bathing routine with that bedtime routine because I found that if we create, it becomes something of a ritual that they look forward to a little bit more when they get to have a bubble bath or a special book read by you or a special time.
I know that if I create space and time for my kids to talk to me at night, they will talk forever. And so, if I can start with that at 7 PM rather than 8:30 or 9 PM, everyone’s much better off. So, one way I encourage my kids to do that is I say, “If you want bath time, bed time, story time, extra talking time with mom, we have to start at 7 instead of 8 or 8:30,” because then I have the capacity to do that with you. With four kids, you have to make that boundary and that time so you can make it all work.
Number three is to start incorporating family meetings into your life. This is something that we started doing, gosh, probably six years ago. When kids are really tiny, it’s hard to do that, but as they get a little bit older and they start to be able to take on more responsibilities and have different schedules, I’ve found that it is so helpful if we have family meetings.
It sounds really formal, but it’s not. It is a situation where we do talk to our kids one-on-one and as a group. So, take, for example, if it was a Sunday, which are the days that we like to do family meetings the most because we have the last amount of conflicts typically, we will go over the schedule of what’s happening that week together as a family, maybe some goals or exciting things that are happening over the weekend or sporting events throughout the week. So, we have a good idea of what’s happening and then we will bring the kids in one by one and talk about what their goals are for that week, how they feel like things are going in terms of their responsibilities, their behavior at home, their schoolwork, their activities.
And every single time that we do that and we give them personal praise, personal perhaps counselling or discipline as it were, not that we’re scolding them by any means, but it’s a very open loving conversation with them one-on-one. Our week always, always, always goes better than when we don’t do this.
And it doesn’t have to take long with each kid. We typically will bring them in and have a meeting with them 5-10 minutes each and we do like to include some kind of a positive reinforcement for that meeting. So, for some, it might be screentime during the week or it might be a special outing or they might be saving up money for a certain thing depending on the kids’ ages and their interests.
It’s always different. We always adjust for that. But we try to make each meeting be one where we talk to them individually. We talk about their goals. We also talk about behavior, schoolwork, things they’re excited about, their wishes, their hopes, all of the things, even sibling rivalry, fighting that’s going on, whatever it is, and you create space for them one-on-one. Family meetings make everything better. It doesn’t mean they always happen for us, but when we make time for them, it is our week always goes better.
Number four is creating space for you to plan for the week. So, again, on Sundays, I like to sit down with the calendar. I do this before I meet with my kids and I look at what my commitments are for work, what my commitments are for my social calendar, what my commitments are for my kids’ sports, what my commitments are for community or household chores or whatever the things are and I try to create white space for myself for working out, for having downtime with my kids and creating space for mental health.
For me, that’s that white space. For you, it could be something different. Maybe you want to make sure to schedule in a walk, spend time with friends, space for working out, reading, whatever the thing is, create white space for yourself.
And I also will do my grocery prep on Sundays where I sit down and what I want to make that week. And then, I will do my grocery delivery through Walmart to have it delivered on Monday morning for the week. I am not perfect at this, but again, when I pair that with a meal prep that I know and love which I will link below. I love macro-friendly meals by Elyse. I have a discount code for you below or I’ll go through and I’ll ask the kids, “What is your favorite meal that you want to make this week?”
We can talk about that in family meetings because then I can also see what nights are we eating out, what nights do I need to make something ahead of time and what do we need to have on hand for lunches, breakfasts, dinners? Make time for that prep for you. And I promise if you will do that, it just goes so much more smoothly. All right.
Number five, we love to have a special back-to-school night. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I will gather my kids together. They love pizza. So, typically, we do a pizza night and we set out candles and sometimes, I’ll put out bouquets. I call them bouquets just because I love them, but bouquets of fresh pencils and cute erasers or different things like that on the table and we talk about a few things.
We talk about how excited we are about getting back to school, who their teachers are going to be. We talk about behavior, what bullying means, what it means to be inclusive. We talk about safety, about how they’re going to get to and from school, and stranger danger to talk about and what to do in those scenarios, just reminders of what to do.
And one thing, just a quick note about that, with stranger danger, it’s very important that your kids can practice saying out loud or yelling out loud that they’re in trouble. This is something that I learned from my friend, Robyn, who on Instagram is @aflyonmywall. She was attacked by an assailant and she said she was able to, not scream because you don’t want them to scream because scream can be mixed up with happiness, you want them to be able to yell their name, to yell stop, and to yell their name and location.
This is something that kids don’t naturally know or feel comfortable doing. So, it’s something that you actually want to practice with your kids, having to yell their name and to say, “Stop and stay away from me,” or whatever the thing is because our natural inclination especially for children is to be quiet or maybe to scream in a way that could be confused with having a good time.
So, not that you want to spend the whole night talking about scary things, but it’s a good time to review all of those little bits. So, a little bit about safety, making goals for the year, talking about what’s coming up and have fun with it. Make it a really fun night.
Number six, I think it’s really important that you meet the teachers. Go to back-to-school night. Be aware and introduce yourself. I have found that every time that I introduce myself to a teacher and I make myself visibly there and a part of the program, it doesn’t mean you have to be there all the time, but go introduce yourself.
Be a part of that. Show your support as a parent. Teachers work so hard. There’s so much demand on them and to know that they have parents rallying them and appreciating their efforts goes a long way for them to feel buoyed up in the work that they’re doing.
One thing that I try to do is I try to help with one school party and one field trip for each of my kids during the school year. I try to do that because I think it’s important that my kids see me in their school setting. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a room mother. If you have the capacity to do that, fantastic. But I’ve found that that’s been a really good occasion for me.
Now, I work for home. I can set my own schedule and for you, you may be thinking, “That’s nice. I can’t show up. I can’t be at the fieldtrip or do those different things.” And that’s fine. If you do want to be involved, sometimes you can help do homework and different things like that to help. But if you’re working, you’re crazy busy, sign up to send a treat. I’m saying store bought treats, which is fantastic. But I feel like extra school supplies or sanitary supplies, those things really help teachers out a lot.
I really like to send those things with my kids for them to bring them into the classroom so that they know that it’s important that we’re contributing and that we’re a part of that community of the classroom. That is a good way to help you so that when and if there’s ever a situation where there’s a behavior issue or communication needs to be happening between you and the teacher, I think having rapport there is really important.
Number seven, creating a drop zone for your kids where they can put the things. I know the kids are not always good at this, but I have found that if I create a drop zone for them to put their backpacks and their shoes, some of my kids are better than others, but they generally do put their things in that space, which is really helpful.
Sometimes, I have created a checklist of things for them to do when they get home that’s just there on that wall where it’s like, take off your shoes, backpack, have a snack. Let them have some chill time and then starting homework.
Creating a routine where they check off three to five things on a box is a really good way for kids to know what to expect when they are coming home after school and to know that there’s a safe place with you and what you’re doing. This also is very important to go over how the kids are going to get to and from school and who is going to be a part of that coming and going. That is a good thing to talk about on your back-to-school night.
Number eight is communication and schedules. I can tell you now that my kids are older and things are crazier than ever that communicating about what is happening and what they need is a huge part of finding success in the day-to-day.
So, when I’m driving my kids to school in the morning, a very typical scenario will be where we talk about, “Does anyone know what’s happening today? It’s Tuesday. What do we do on Tuesday? Tuesday is dance day and we also have karate. For dinner, we’re going to do this, this, this.” And sometimes, I’ll have my kids repeat back to me or have them tell me what they think is happening that day or what they need to remind me of. There are many times that I forget things. So, I like to review it with them to say, “What do you know about what’s happening today and what is happening so we can get it all done together?”
One of my children really struggles with anxiety and that has really helped him to talk about it the night before of what’s happening the next day so we can plan outfits and laying them out the night before as well as what is happening the day of. So, they can anticipate it and what is happening this weekend. So, they can get excited.
Talking and communicating with your kids is essential in having a smooth body of work. That’s not what I meant to say, but you know what I mean like a good operating ship. This is also really helpful if there are chores that need to get done that you talk about those ahead of time in a family meeting. And then, also talking about what’s going to be happening during the week and during the day so that’s everyone helping for the success of the home and the way that everything is operating together.
Number nine is to create white space for you and healthy boundaries. Learning how to say no and create space for you to get done with what you need to get done and also to have space for getting nothing done. You don’t always need to be doing to be successful. I’ve found that times that I create space for getting outside, working out, creating a morning routine that’s really helpful for me, which stay tuned for next episode because it’s really about creating that space for you of fueling yourself and your business so that you can operate and perform as best as you can for your family. So, that’s the next episode. I hope you’ll tune into that.
Number ten is to create time blocks. Time blocks are essential in creating zones and pockets of time where you batch either taking care of your home, taking care of you, taking care of your family. Those two parts, number nine and ten, are so big I wanted to save those for our episode three of this special session of preparing for a busy season.
I hope if you haven’t subscribed already that you do. Please subscribe to this show and please share it with a friend. That’s what helps us to grow. If you’re feeling extra generous, you can leave a review on wherever you’re listening to this episode. I appreciate you. I am cheering you on.
And if there’s something you’re really excited about and you want to go after that thing, know that you don’t have to choose. You can be an amazing mother and you can create time for your passion and growing into something that you were meant to become. I think far too often, we think to ourselves that we have to choose. And trust me there are seasons where you can push and pull back, like I talked about before, but I want you to create white space for you to have time to develop into that person that you are and who you are meant to be. There is so much beauty in you, my friend. You have so much to give the world. Thank you so much for tuning in and I will see you next time.
Hey, it’s Camille here. If you’ve ever thought about starting a business and being a mother, now’s the time to do it. My friends, there are so many opportunities for you to be able to build a business and be a mother with building a business online.
That is why I created the 60 Days to VA program where I can teach you how to use skills you already know and also ones you may not know and turn it into a business where you can help others develop business from afar. This can be done with administrative work, creative work, customer service, or any other follow-up think like an executive secretary but remote. You can help others grow businesses from wherever you are.
It is an amazing program. It’s done in only 60 days and I help you line with up an entrepreneur who is looking for you. I’m starting to offer match-up with busy entrepreneurs that come to me and say, “Hey, my workload is so heavy. I need help.” I help line you up with graduates from my program, the 60 Days to VA program. If you are interested in growing your business or you need a little bit more white space to create time for you and growing your business, please reach out to me. You can reach me at www.camillewalker.co, email at email@example.com or DM me @callmeceopodcast. I can’t wait to hear from you and help you achieve your goals.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss.
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