I’m still firmly in denial, since we live in a part of the country where school doesn’t start until after Labor Day. But for many of you, school has either started back up or is about to, and we tip our hats to salute those of you bidding adieu to lazy summer mornings, late bedtimes, and no homework.
Transitioning your kids from the pace of summer vacation to the rigor and structure of the school year can be a challenge, but one that is worth it considering it can save everyone’s sanity that first week back at school. Because we all know there is nothing more immovable than a child who simply “can’t” get out of bed on a school day (yet somehow are spry and energetic in the wee hours of the morning come weekends).
Be your own hero with some simple reminders as to how you can ease your family back into their school routines and hopefully you’ll all have a little more time to relax so you can continue to take time for what matters most to you.
- Get to sleep. Start setting progressively earlier bedtimes a week or two before the first day of school. If you have the time, move it in small increments.
- Ease the shock of homework. If your kids aren’t already reading or working on summer bridgework, now is a great time to start! For more reluctant kiddos, start by reading to them, and let them take over as the habit takes hold. Of course it helps to have great reading material. For ideas, check out this list for readers of all ages.
- Make a plan. Work together as a family to make a plan for the school-year schedule. What will afternoons look like after school? For parents who are away at work during this time, now is a good time to brush up on what the kids should do when the unexpected happens.
- Create a space. Set up a dedicated place in your home that’s just for homework. Just as we’re not supposed to eat or watch television in our beds so we associate it with sleep (LOL), help your child associate a place that’s just theirs for schoolwork.
- Look smart. Go through last year’s clothes and make a list of what still fits and what needs to go into the hand-me-down or donate piles. If the idea of school clothes shopping is less than appealing, stock up on what they’ll need for the first few months and revisit when the weather changes. For those of you whose kids wear uniforms to school (you lucky dogs), make sure orders are in well before the first day of school in case alterations or exchanges need to be made.
- Take a shot. In the arm, that is. And of course, only if necessary. Make an appointment with their pediatrician to ensure all immunizations and sports medical forms are up to date and ready to go.
- Reflect. Make a scrapbook or online photo gallery of your summer adventures and talk about what you’re all looking forward to most for the fall season.
- Check your own reflection. Remember, kids mirror us more than we think. If you’re also dreading the return of the school routine, make sure you try and minimize it while you’re around the kids, instead focusing on what you are looking forward to. I’m guilty of whining about the early mornings – a lot – and am trying to limit my complaints to my husband (who doesn’t work from home like I do, and subsequently has little sympathy for me). And if necessary, fake it ’til you make it!
What works best for you family this time of year? Are you already making your list and checking it twice or are you secretly wishing August would last another ten weeks? If you have your own tips that work for you and your family, please share them in the comments. Especially since some of us are secretly hopeful about that ten weeks thing.