Back to school already? Noooooo! Say it ain’t so!
Didn’t school used to start in September?
Summer break is nearly over so it’s time to prepare for the upcoming school year.
Just think about the jarring shift from chilled out, barefoot summertime kid to suddenly rising with the sun and focusing their attention all day long. Poor kiddies!
That shift can be stressful for the whole family but I have some helpful tips to ease the transition.
- Get their brains back into learning mode before school starts. Visit a museum. Watch documentaries and science programs on television. Go to the library and pick out a book to read just for fun. Bust out the times tables or flash cards and review some math.
- Begin two weeks before school starts to reset your family’s internal clocks. Determine age appropriate bed and waking times and gradually adjust toward them. Bedtime can be a bummer so set an alarm for 30 minutes before bedtime to wind up activities and prepare for bed.
- Resetting your morning clock is easier with incentive. Make a special breakfast or let kids enjoy a favorite activity but only if they get up before a certain time. Like “Video games only before nine in the morning.” It doesn’t matter why they get up as long as they’re getting up earlier, right?
- Create bedtime and morning routines for your kids and yourself to keep everyone on track. Teach kids to lay out tomorrow’s clothing and pack their school bags before bed each night.
- Shop early for school supplies. Whether it’s kindergarten or college there’s a supply list to pick up as soon as possible. Before you shop, inventory last year’s supplies so you’re not buying unnecessary items. If financial issues prevent you from purchasing basics, the school can usually hook you up with donated supplies.
- Make a homework station or portable homework caddy stocked with supplies to avoid the distraction of searching for materials. Set up in a quiet spot free from distractions like TV and video games. Teach time management skills by helping them to prioritize assignments
- Start organizing before school begins. Create a family calendar and each week have a family meeting to enter all activities for the upcoming week. It’s so helpful to know when and where everyone needs to be each day. No one likes surprises (the science fair is today???). Keep track of extracurricular activities to prevent over-scheduling. Have a family “in box” for all papers that need parent’s attention like permission slips and school calendars.
- Refresh the rules for the new year regarding screen time, family time, study time and social time. A new school year is a natural time to reevaluate what’s working and what needs improvement in all kid related areas of your home life.
- Assemble a back to school survival kit for older kids to keep in their lockers or book bags. Use a small cosmetics bag with personal items they may need. Ideas to include are – extra pens and pencils, tissues, deodorant, feminine hygiene supplies, breath mints, baby wipes, a small hairbrush, hair ties, fragranced body spray, lip balm, a few dollars for emergencies. If allowed add aspirin, pepto bismol, and allergy medications.
Most people start every school year saying “This year will be different” because we all recall moments of chaos. You have the power to make changes for the better starting right now.
The key to managing back to school like a boss is preparation and organization because if you’re relaxed and calm they will be, too. Now isn’t that the way to start the new year? I think yes.