A new school year is nipping at our heels. I can feel it. You can feel it, and most importantly the kids can feel it. Feeling the pressure rise as school days get closer, can be incredibly overwhelming. For everyone. Summer, for many of us, is a time for late bedtimes, vacations, and other fun activities that hopefully don’t involve too many math facts or spelling words. The trouble with summer, though, is that it’s SO LONG, and none of the above mentioned activities are really conducive for getting back into the swing of going back to school.
Which reminds me of another issue. Going back to school may also mean a plethora of after school/extracurricular activities that complicate schedules and deviate from what’s been happening for the last 10-12 weeks. Whatever you do, don’t panic because there’s still time! There’s still time to incorporate a few tips into your days and nights to prep you and your child for the upcoming school year.
TIP #1: SLEEP
About 2 weeks out, you may want to re-adjust your child’s sleep hygiene routine. Establish what the night time routine is going to be once school starts back up (i.e. after dinner comes showers, and after showers comes reading or another “winding down” activity). This will also be when you start moving the actual bedtime close to the time that it will be once school starts. Hopefully, you’re only playing with a 30-60 minute time frame. If it’s more, larger steps towards the school night bedtime may be required.
TIP #2: PREPPING THE NIGHT BEFORE
About 1 week out, start establishing the nightly routine that involves preparing for the next day (i.e. set out clothes to be worn, go over next day’s schedule – day camp, doctor’s appointment, grandma’s house, etc, if lunches or snacks will be needed, start prepping those). This may also be a good time to start establishing the dreaded morning routine (i.e. get up, get dressed, brush teeth, breakfast, etc and in what order those should happen). Moving up the “rise and shine” time will also be very helpful.
TIP #3: AFTER SCHOOL
Once school starts, it’s on! Establish the after school schedules of activities and care before hand, so that when school actually starts, your child knows how the day(s) are going to look.
It’s hard to establish routines and habits, especially when new ones have erased the old ones, but preparing and practicing the new routine with your child may ease the organized chaos that ensues that first day. Having a set routine may also ease the burden of random unplanned happenings. You and your child will be more likely to navigate the changes positively. Within a few weeks (maybe sooner), your days at home will be running like well oiled machines.