Back-to-School Solutions

Fall is a bittersweet time of year around our house. By the end of August, I’ll admit, I’m eager for my kids to get back to school, and they usually are, too. At the same time, it’s hard not to feel a little sad about the end of summer and the return of all the busy days and evenings that this time of year brings. This month, we tackle the back-to-school blues with favorite solutions for all your fall dilemmas.

 

Dilemma:
The little kids have lost their playmates.

While it can be a relief to have the big kids back in school, it may also mean you have some mopey preschoolers on your hands.

Solution:
Preschool is one option, but you might also consider making some new friends for everybody. Try your local Hike It Baby chapter to connect with other parents who enjoy getting outdoors, or look up the Give and Grow Group on Facebook to find community-minded parents who enjoy volunteering with their kids in the Tacoma area. Or find the Village 253 group on Facebook, a group of moms dedicated to fostering “real life connections.” Dads may want to find the BK Dad’s Group, a similar group organized by one of the owners of Tacoma’s Blooming Kids.

 

Dilemma:
It’s raining … again.

Solution:
September is usually glorious, but soon enough the rain will return. Area indoor playground options abound. Try WiggleWorks, the STAR Center, or Odyssey 1. Parents of children with special needs may want to check out the new Federal Way location of We Rock The Spectrum. Also consider other indoor options; like the long awaited Pacific Seas Aquarium at the Point Defiance Zoo that is scheduled to open in September.

 

Dilemma:
Everyone needs a ride somewhere different at the same time.

Solution:
Michelle Salabanzi told me she launched STAR Kids Transportation after witnessing this need first hand. STAR drivers currently pick up kiddos around the greater Tacoma area and beyond and provide door-to-door service for kids who may need rides to school, childcare, or another parent’s house. Michelle told me not to think of it as an Uber-like service for kids, however. She wants you to know that families will get the same driver every time and form relationships with him/her much like a school bus driver.

 

Dilemma:
Weeknight dinners seem impossible.

Solution:
More stores are now getting in on the meal kit trend made popular by companies such as Blue Apron. Some Fred Meyer stores are offering Prep+Pared Meal Kits like the tempting Vietnamese-inspired spicy lemongrass pork with coconut rice and cabbage salad. Friends of mine swear by Trader Joe’s for not-quite-homemade dishes, or pressure cookers like the Instant Pot for making short work of recipes that traditionally require lengthy prep, like ribs.

 

Dilemma:
Summer never lasts long enough!

Solution:
Chase those blues away by going to a favorite celebration of the season. A few to try include the Steilacoom Apple Squeeze, the Key Peninsula Farm Tour, and the Puyallup Salmon Homecoming. Those of you with junior culture vultures have lots to look forward to, including Tacoma Arts Month. October brings pumpkin patch and corn maze fun. Favorites include Picha Farms and Spooner Farms in the Puyallup Valley, and Maris Farms, with its huge corn mazes, in Buckley. 

 

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