Kids whining over boredom. The television broadcasting the same episode of Phineas & Ferb that aired last week. Voices in your head are telling you it might be a good idea to drink at noon. On Tuesday.
Yep. Summer’s almost over.
Now that the calendar year is catching up to the one followed by most retail stores in America, it’s time to start figuring out how to effectively transition into the next school year. This can be a fun time of year for a lot of families…shopping for new supplies and clothes, squeezing in one more family day trip to a local hot spot. But it can also bring a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration. Frankly, that is no way to end your fantastic season of family fun.
Luckily, combatting the chaos of back to school season can be a breeze. All it takes is some simple forethought and a bit of time management.
Start getting up and moving at least two weeks before the first day of school. Get your day started as if it actually were the school year (especially helpful for us moms who are home for whatever reason during the day.). Practicing your morning routine allows you to work out the kinks in your carefully laid plans. Let’s be honest…anything can happen when you’re trying to get kids out of the house on time. With a bit of practice under your belt, you’re able to refine your morning process before it gets put into full fledged action.
Practicing the routine does more than just benefit you. It also helps establish explicit expectations of everyone involved in getting out the door at a reasonable time. The kids will know what they are supposed to do and (hopefully) get to it with minimal conflict. I say hopefully because remember…anything can happen as you’re trying to get kids out of the house.
Remember…studies show that it takes 21 days to create a form a habit. Practicing the morning routine at least a week or two ahead helps to form those a.m rituals earlier, theoretically paving the way for a smoother transition into the school year.
If you don’t have a space for backpacks, shoes, keys, etc. near the door, I highly recommend you figuring out where to DIY some of that happiness into your home. We have an under-utilized mud room that I plan on making good use of this year. It has hooks for jackets and backpacks and cubbies for shoes, gloves, and those sort of things. Make sure to label whose stuff goes where and make it a family effort to keep the area itself tidy.
Once that space is arranged, begin leaving your personal items in your designated spot as you’re coming and going from your house. This, again, lets everyone get used to routine of where to put their things so that assignments, projects, and lunches aren’t forgotten. When the whole bunch knows where their belongings are supposed to be, and makes an effort to follow through, you can expect your mornings to run a bit smoother.
The start of school often means the start of a fresh year of activities for your munchkins. Double check on your kiddos’ immunizations and sports physicals at least a month before back to school season. If anything needs to be updated, you have plenty of time to squeeze in a last minute appointment, but those fill up fast, so beware of getting stuck in that position. Taking care of these issues helps prevent missed class time from doctors appointments later in the school year. It also avoids hiccups when it’s time to register for activities throughout the school year, especially when holidays and sicknesses begin to eat up your precious time.
If you’re looking for a little guidance on managing your personal calendar, check out this post on color-coding your planner. The system is a game changer.
You’ll know back to school is on the horizon when the stores begin to display notebooks and pens at the front. Around this time, you’ll also find a rack with flyers from your local elementary schools. These flyers tell you what supplies are required for your child’s classroom that year.
Now, I’m about to tell you some really shocking information. I hope you’re sitting down.
Though your child’s needs are the center of your most enabling affections, they are not the center of anyone else’s universe. Clearly stated…your kid isn’t the only one heading back to school.
With that being said, I’m not implying that procrastinating means there won’t be anything left for your precious darling. But it does mean you’ll end up scraping the bottom of the barrel for the right item. That can really kill the buzz and excitement of starting the school year off on the right foot.
There isn’t a doctor on the planet who wouldn’t agree that a good night of sleep is important if you want to be a productive person the following day. You can google any keyword search on sleep habits. I’m almost certain they’ll tell you that being well rested is vital to your well being. A good night’s sleep can help us concentrate, stay energized. It even helps our bodies fight off infections better.
Your body needs times to adjust to the new demands of waking up and getting moving at an earlier time. Forcing yourself to go to sleep a week or so ahead of time gives your body that chance to adjust. You and your family will feel more capable of dealing with whatever lies ahead if you have regular, good quality sleep.
Often times, students who perform well in school have established habits and routines to help them juggle their workload. They also usually have parents who support them. Teaming up with your child to start the school year off on a positive note is a great way to help him or her look forward to what the year will bring. Your child’s trepidations about the upcoming year will be reassured by your support in their education. It also helps you get into the parental school-year mindset (start coming up with reasons to avoid the PTA now, though…since we’re planning ahead.)
Overall, when students, their parents, and a faculty of teachers start the year off on a positive, upbeat wave, they have created a safe and effective learning environment for all the kids involved. Isn’t that a win-win?
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