Transitions are never easy. As a mom of two, I know firsthand that the new school year brings a mixed bag of excitement and anxiety. Part of me is ready to get back on a schedule and not hear kids arguing for the fifth or sixth time today. The other part of me loves summer and doesn’t really want it to come to an end. To make the Back-To-School transition a little easier, it’s definitely a good idea to be prepared for it. Here’s your survival guide to make the new school year go off without a hitch!
Now is the time to get back in the swing of things. Your kids are not going to be happy if they can stay up to 11:00 one night and then must be in bed by 8:00 the next. In fact, they probably won’t be able to make such a drastic change so quickly and will make everybody miserable. Begin slowly reintroducing your regular bedtime and wake-up schedules, a few weeks before school starts, so everyone is used to the change. If you have let routines such as a family dinner or a story before bedtime slip during the summer, this is a good time to re-establish them also.
Set Clear Expectations
Be clear about your expectations for the new school year. Set family expectations, as well as, expectations for each of your children. Think about the things that worked well last year and what didn’t work so well. Think of the things that are really a “must do” to make this school year work and discuss them as a family. Be both hopeful and realistic. One expectation may be getting out the door each morning on time another expectation may be your 5th grader is now responsible for doing and turning their homework in on-time on their own.
Nothing beats the tried and true method of getting homework done and packing lunches the night before. It means one less thing to do the next morning. It can be helpful for some kids to pick out clothes the night before or even pick them out on a Sunday for the whole week. And, every parent is familiar with those last-minute necessities that always slow kids down when you’re trying to get them out the door. Shoes, jackets, gloves, backpacks… set-up a specific drop-off box for them or collect them all the night before, so they’re ready when you’re scrambling.
Create checklists for each of your kids with age-appropriate responsibilities for their morning and after-school routines and school commitments. This will help eliminate the need for you to remind your kids of every small task they need to do day after day. You’ll just need to ask if they’ve completed everything on their list. To really get your kids on the same team as you, make sure you involve them in creating their list. They need to take responsibility for it and know that it’s a tool to help them and not just you.
Use a Master Calendar
Whether you use an old-fashioned wall calendar or keep track of your family’s activities electronically, what’s important is that every activity for each family member is recorded in one place. This will help you avoid the stress of double-booked activities, impossible logistics and overscheduling.
Give kids something to look forward to and celebrate the start of the new school year. Especially, if last year wasn’t such a great year. You can throw a big party, but you can also plan a few low-key activities that are stress relievers. Schedule a play date, watch a movie, etc. And, don’t forget about yourself. Parents also need to celebrate. Get together with your friends or host a back-to-school brunch on the first day of school.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say ‘No”
Back-To-School time can be chaotic. Think about scheduling and prioritizing family time or downtime. It’s good for you and your kids to be involved, but know your limits. Be deliberate about your commitments, extracurricular activities and other demands. Don’t be afraid to say no, so you can give your best to the things that are most important to your kids and you.
Do you have any Back to School survival tips? Share with us in a Comment below!