BACK TO SCHOOL FOR ALL OF YOU
Ease into the Change
Getting back to school can be stressful, especially if the kids haven’t been operating on a schedule since the start of summer. Radical changes to daily routines can result in high stress for the kids and the parents, so don’t try to switch gears without preparation.
Start with resetting bedtimes about two weeks before school starts. If the kids have been staying up late, get them back in the habit of going to bed at a set bedtime. If they’ve been sleeping in until 8 a.m., wake them up at 7:45 a.m. the first day, 7:40 a.m. the next day, and so forth until you can get them out of bed when you need them out of bed.
You know what else says “summer is almost over?” Back-to-school shopping. Take the kids to the store and let them pick out the backpacks, notebooks, and clothes they want for the new school year (unless they wear uniforms to school, in which case they can select the clothes they want to wear AFTER they get back home).
Sync up Those Schedules
Back to school also means getting back into school-related activities, which requires at least a rudimentary understanding of how to use a calendar. Clubs, sports, music lessons, service organizations, church and community functions… everything starts back up when school does. And unless the kids can walk, bike, or (if they’re old enough) drive to all this stuff, there’s a good chance the parents will have to plan their nights and weekends to match these schedules.
But not to worry. The solution for keeping track of all these activities starts and ends with one word: communication. Grab a big calendar to keep track of everybody’s activities. And we do mean everybody; if mom has a night meeting at her job, put it on the calendar so dad will remember he has to take the kids to soccer practice. Youngest son has play rehearsal Tuesday and Thursday nights, but that conflicts with oldest son’s lacrosse practice? Put it on the calendar so travel/pickup arrangements can be made.
It should be clarified here that having a big calendar doesn’t necessarily mean going out and purchasing the biggest erasable calendar you can find. A big calendar just means something large enough to add upcoming events legibly enough so they can be easily referenced by anyone.
Post the calendar someplace conspicuous, such as by the fridge or on the pantry door, and check for updates and changes. Review the school calendars for upcoming events and include room for any potential unplanned events, too; things tend to happen at the oddest times.
Preparing for the first day of school should be a bit like doing prep work for a big meal: prepare as many of the little things ahead of time. Put the clothes out the night before. Put the breakfast items in the front of the pantry or fridge. Pack the lunches. Make sure one shoe isn’t by the front door while the other one has been lodged in the sofa.
Sound a little too obsessive-compulsive? Try doing all that the morning of the first day.