Author: Carrie Myers
If you’re like many families, summertime means the loss of a normal routine and schedule. So, when back-to-school time inevitably rolls back around, those first few weeks can be rough—unless you’re prepared. Here are a few tips for easing into a new school year.
Wrap-Up Summer School Projects
If you neglected to go through your kids’ backpacks from last school year, now might be a good time to do so. Hopefully, you won’t find their summer reading list or some other summer project that’s supposed to be completed by the upcoming school year (and hopefully you don’t find that the stench you’ve been smelling is some critter they brought home and were supposed to take care of over the summer!).
Do School Shopping Early
This is especially important if you tend to procrastinate. Get school supplies, backpacks, lunch boxes, and any clothes and shoes well before the start of school (like two or three weeks before). This cuts down on the stress of last-minute shopping—and increases the chances of getting the colors and themes your kids want (unless you hate that cartoon character they’re crazy about, in which case, feel free to procrastinate).
Don’t wait until school starts to begin some sort of routine. Summertime often means later nights and sleeping in—at least sleeping later than during the school year. Two or three weeks prior to school starting, set a time for bedtime—and announce it early—like the previous week, but also early on in the day that you’re starting it—and remind them often throughout the day so that no one can say you didn’t tell them (little do they know, we moms know all their tricks).
How to set the earlier bedtime is up to you, but it definitely does not need to be all or nothing. Depending on when you’re beginning the earlier bedtime, try starting with 30 minutes earlier for the first few days and then add up from there. Just beware that they may have trouble falling asleep at first, since they’re bodies have adjusted to staying up later. This is where the bedtime routine comes into play. What do they normally do during the school year? Bath, brush, read—or something along those lines? If they’ve gotten out of that habit, now is the time to reinstill it.
On the other end, if they’ve been sleeping in, start setting alarms and practice getting up and getting “ready” in the morning. If you don’t want them to consider you a total summertime buzz-kill, allow weekends to stay on summertime.
Ease New School Year Jitters
Whether your kids will be in a new school this year, or you have a child who does not deal with change well, ignoring their anxiety will not make it go away. Start talking about how they’re feeling, answer any questions they might have, and start them on their new routine so that it becomes familiar to them.
Contact the school and their new teacher and ask if you can all do a meet-and-greet the week before school in their classroom. This will increase their familiarity and help them feel safe going there. If the child is in middle or high school, ask for a tour of the school and a meet-and-greet with their teachers. If they’ll be using a locker, ask if they could get their locker assignment and locker code or combination so they can practice opening it without trying to figure it out with the pressure of other kids and bells going off (I literally still have this recurring dream at least once a year that I cannot remember my locker combo and the bells are going off, I’m late…ahhhh!)
Make Sure You Still Squeeze in Fun
Summer is short enough, and the purpose of preparing for school is not to shorten summer even more. Even with easing back into a schedule and routine, be sure to add plenty of end-of-summer activities and family time (or downtime if summer has been all go, go, go). And while I do not recommend planning your family getaway for the last week of summer, if that is your thing, being prepared beforehand will be imperative!
Here’s to a safe, healthy, happy school year!
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