How is this possible? The back-to-school frenzy is upon us. For some parts of the country, it’s already happened (my sincere condolences to those currently helping with homework). We still have until after Labor Day, but it’s everywhere, and I know this because every single store has had school supplies on display since they cleared out the fireworks. I am fine with this, but I take extreme umbrage with the Halloween items. I may have to boycott life if I see tinsel and snowmen before Columbus Day.
As we prepare ourselves for the change in routine, it’s important to include the kids in this transition. Going from summer camps and bike rides to early wake-up times and sitting in class all day is tough on everyone, especially the kids. It’s also time for parents to make the transition back into school activities, whether you volunteer with a parent/teacher group, help with school parties, or need to firm up the carpool schedule.
PlanHero is all about making our lives a little easier and more streamlined in order to focus on what matters most to us, so here are some tips to make the back-to-school transition a little less bumpy.
- Reset your daily routine in small increments. That early wake-up call can be brutal for kids who have been staying up late and sleeping in all summer. Start slow. Move bedtimes a little earlier each night and get the family going a little earlier each morning in the weeks leading up to the first day. Teenagers need a lot of sleep but are somehow all programmed to be night owls – one way to help facilitate an earlier bedtime is by making sure they’re getting plenty of exercise during the day to help wear them out naturally. And no, the dance breaks in Fortnite don’t count. Schedule in some end-of-summer family hikes, after-dinner bike rides, or get the family out on a jog. If you can do this with minimal complaining, please inbox us and share your secrets.
- Go through their closets and take an inventory of what still fits and what needs to go to the donate or hand-me-down pile. If fall is still warm in your area, you can still get a lot of use out of summer clothes. If your child wears a uniform, make sure a summer growth spurt hasn’t snuck up on you (it can be hard to tell if they’ve been wearing shorts all summer!).
- Designate a homework area in your house and enlist your child’s help in cleaning it out and setting it up with the appropriate supplies.
- Online shopping for school supplies is so much easier these days, since many retailers have grade-specific lists available. Before I do this I always check last year’s backpacks for unused or reusable supplies. Be prepared to find a petrified sandwich or two among the still usable pencil cases.
- Develop a game plan with your child for fall. Is there a big transition ahead, say from elementary school to middle school? Are they nervous about who they’ll sit with at lunch? Suss out any potential concerns and encourage your child to come up with ideas to handle them.
- Host a BBQ or potluck with families attending the same school so the kids can have a chance to mingle and reconnect. PlanHero’s Gatherings Tool makes it quick and easy to get everyone together.
- Keep summer passions alive. Did your child develop a new hobby or skill this summer? Look into activities at school that continue to foster their new interests. If your child graduated from swim lessons, swim team might be in order this year. Did Grandpa teach your daughter to play chess? Sign her up for chess club!
- Have a rehearsal day. New routes to school? Different bus? Do a dry run with your kids to avoid surprises on the first day. Incentivize the group by getting ice cream on the way home.
- Manage your own misgivings. If you’re like me and wishing it could be summer
foreverjust a little bit longer, chances are your children have picked up on this, which can impact how well they make the transition. Extend some of your favorite summer traditions into the school year: take an after-dinner walk together even as the weather turns. Create a family summer memory book together. Bundle up and roast marshmallows over the firepit and welcome the changing season with hot cider. If you’re struggling, make a list of the things that will get easier once they’re back at school. As a work-at-home parent, I admit having a quieter house makes for a more productive environment. It’s tough trying to sound professional on the phone when the bickering has reached peak levels.
- Avoid paperwork surprises. If your child is enrolled in a sport or activity, double check that sports physicals, permission forms, and registration paperwork is all updated and complete. As much as I enjoy friendly banter with our pediatrician’s receptionist, I don’t like begging for a last-minute physical appointment.
How about you, PlanHero Nation? Are you prepared? Are you champing at the bit for the first day, or are you firmly in the noooo please just five more minutes camp?