There is something so blissful about summer. Lazy days, hours of outside time, and treats you can only get at their peak for a few months of the year. (We’re looking at you, watermelon.) But there’s also a relief for many parents as the beginning of school draws near. With all of summer’s pros, there are the cons to consider like a lack of routine, messy homes, and wired kids needing more intellectual stimulation. To make the transition positive for everyone in your household, here are our top tips to prepare for the “back to school” season.
Slowly Reintroduce a Stricter Schedule
Right now your routine may be a bit lax as you enjoy late wake up times and “eat-when-you-please” meals. Many families struggle with the sudden change school brings to rushed mornings and closely timed lunches. Avoid experiencing a huge shock to you and your kids’ systems by incorporating better habits progressively throughout the next few weeks. Inch that bedtime a few minutes earlier each night, and set wake ups just a bit earlier. It’s a good idea to check on your specific school’s lunch hour and breaks, to help your little ones’ tummies adjust to waiting a little longer for their next snack. Emulate the timing they’ll have at school as much as possible at home and you’ll all adjust easier when the time comes.
Get the House in Order
Pantries, medicine cabinets, entryways, and closets…these are a few of our least favorite things. For whatever reason the areas of the home that store the most important things also tend to become chaotic the quickest. Take inventory of your home’s biggest pain points and make yourself a list and calendar for tidying them up. By tackling one area each day, you’ll be able to get the place in an ideal state for a new routine without overwhelming yourself in one giant cleaning sweep.
Make Shopping a Fun Time for Everyone
You will have no problem finding great deals on kids clothes, shoes, and school supplies this time of year; but you may have some issue getting all 3 kiddos packed in the car, acting reasonable in the store, and leaving with everything you intended to get by the end of the trip. Turn some of that responsibility back on to your children…for older kids that can read, give them individual shopping lists for things they can look for while you help the younger ones. And make it fun for everybody by giving each child choices and a sense of decision-making in the process. You may need to steer them toward the three outfits that are appropriate and within your budget, but then allow them to pick the one they like! A little bit of personal style mixed in with your practicality guidance will go a long way in helping your kids gain excitement and confidence for school.
Coordinate Carpools and Extracurricular Activities Now
You may have had it all worked out in the spring, but things with kids change so quickly that it’s probably a whole new ballgame with each new school year. You may have teenagers transitioning to middle school or high school, perhaps the neighbor who used to do pickup for the elementary kids has moved away, or your nine year old is just insisting that he needs to play basketball this year and he’s no longer into soccer. Whatever the changes you anticipate to face this fall, get the logistics in order sooner rather than later. Visit orientation campus days, call neighbors to get car pools set up, and register for the coming sport season sooner rather than later. Removing the guesswork for your upcoming calendar will also remove a lot of stress.
Create a Command Central
Now that you have a family routine once again, the kids are set with new backpacks, and the house isn’t quite so disheveled…the rest of the year will be a breeze right? We wish. Set your entire crew up for success by having a central point of organization. Set up a central location for a full calendar, chore charts, important school papers, and even baskets or shelves for things like dance practice outfits and homework. By having all of these things in one important place, each person in your home will know where to look when they’re confused, and what to do in preparation for each days’ “excitement.” With some collaboration, organization, and teamwork—you’ll all get back on track for a fun and productive school year.