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Miller: Time to get ready for fall

Miller: Time to get ready for fall

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Finish strong.

I was recently listening to a podcast where the speaker described how each of us has our own set of temptations.

You may struggle with totally telling the truth (do little white lies really hurt anyone?), and another person may become the cowardly lion when disagreements arise.

This speaker explained that her struggle is finishing strong. She starts a project or activity and completes it about half-way before moving on to the next thing.

We usually recognize this trait in building construction or our children’s bedrooms. But when I heard the speaker’s lecture, I realized it is a lot like finishing the summer break.

For all students in Lee County, Auburn and Opelika, school will begin in two weeks. Even though we have been on break for five months, we have 14 days until the hustle and bustle of getting out of the house in the morning. For many students, after school activities like football, band, volleyball and clubs will be tacked on to the end of their school time.

How do we finish the summer strong?

First, the most popular conversation among my friend group is masks. This is the time to find the masks that your child feels most comfortable wearing all day. My boys like neck gaiters so they will not lose it when they need to slide it down. My daughter prefers a mask with stretchy material that fits her face well.

The mask exploration reminds me of when our kids starting using bottles and sippy cups. I bought several brands and styles to see which they preferred and therefore would use.

I would also recommend getting your child accustomed to having their temperature taken. I know some schools are requiring parents to check their child before taking them to school. I will not step into the controversy of schools taking temperature, but make sure you are prepared at home.

The second way to finish the summer strong is continuing the habit of hand washing.

At this point, your children are probably masters of hand washing. I will not make you raise your hand if your kids struggled with this prior to the pandemic.

Use these weeks to make sure soap is being used and time is being taken to really get hands clean.

Another way to prepare for school is to help your children identify their belongings at school. In the past, many classrooms had shared supplies. If my child took eight glue sticks, they were added to box with the other students’ glue sticks. This did not bother most parents and surely made life easier for the teacher. This year, each student will need to be responsible for their own supplies.

For middle and high school, this means not using the random pencil found in the hallway. For identification with our supplies, we used printed address labels and ordered some more durable labels.

Whatever way you choose to prepare for the end of summer, finish strong. Be ready to start the next season!

Tipi Colley Miller is the director of Keep Opelika Beautiful Inc. and writes a weekly column. Contact her at

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