It’s a rude awakening. School starts and you go from sleeping late and spending your days more or less as you like to alarm clocks, school buses, carpools, classrooms, and homework! Even if you’ve been counting the days until you’re kids are back to a regular routine and out of the house most of the day (yes, I know you love them), the transition from summer to school is always hard.
That’s the truth, plain and simple. And I won’t lie to you and say “read this blog, follow my advice, and it’ll be smooth sailing!” Because it won’t be. The truth, again. I do think you should read the blog, though. I also think you should follow whatever advice is useful to you and adapt it in any way that will help you make the back-to-school transition smoother. Notice I said “smoother,” not “smooth.” It will still be hard, but hopefully you’ll find something here that will help make it a bit easier for you and your kids.
- Bedtime: If you’ve been relaxed about bedtime during the summer, it will be hard to get back into it when school starts. It’s a good idea to start about a week before by getting the kids into bed a little earlier each night until you’re back on a reasonable schedule. Give them time to relax in bed by reading or listening to something soothing. I know that some of you have started school already, but if your kids are having trouble settling in, you can still try getting them to bed earlier in stages.
- Wake-up Time: Do the same thing in the morning if you’ve all been sleeping in. Get everyone up a little earlier each morning and it won’t be soooooo bad when you have to do it for school. Oh, it’ll still be bad! It’s getting up early, and it’s for school. But it will be easier, and that’s me being honest.
- Be Organized: Having everything where you need it will avoid last-minute scrambles, and that, I can tell you for sure, will definitely make things go a lot more smoothly. Preparing backpacks and lunchboxes at night will make the mornings easier. Make sure all homework is done, write all notes to the teacher at night, and pack up all projects. Plan outfits and set out clothes before bed, and designate a place for coats and jackets so that they’re easy to grab on the way out of the house.
- Homework: Ugh! Just writing that word created a pit in my stomach! I honestly don’t know if homework is worse for the parents or the kids. The fighting, the tears, the panic! I might be talking about myself here… I hope I’m strong enough for another year of it. My plan is to stick to a scheduled time for homework and make sure it all gets done at that time. Keep in mind that some kids are better off doing it right away and getting it over with, and some kids need a break, a snack, or dinner before they start up again. Knowing your kids and how they work best will make it much easier.
- Talk To Your Kids: You should touch base with your kids on a regular basis to make sure things are going well at school. Talk to them about issues like bullying, peer pressure, friends, and schoolwork. Let them know that they can always come to you with questions and problems and that you will do your best to help them work things out. If they are anxious to start a new school year, calm them down by telling them that it’s normal to be nervous about going back to school and that those feelings will go away very soon.
- Talk To The Teacher: As a recovering helicopter parent, it’s sometimes hard for me to know when to step back, but I still believe it’s a good idea to connect with your child’s teacher. I like to meet the people who are spending a large chunk of the day with my kids, and I like to let the teacher know that I’m an involved parent who is interested in my kids’ progress. If you can’t make it over to the school to introduce yourself in person, it’s fine to send a short note or an email just to open the door for communication.
Here’s to a successful school year for all of us!