17 Jul Get Ready for Back to School
Summer vacation—a glorious stretch of up to twelve weeks filled with endless fun, late nights, and hopefully, plenty of sleeping in. How quickly the usual school routine has been forgotten amidst lunchtime pizza and ice cream adventures, and evenings spent frolicking in the park. However, as the days dwindle down and the back-to-school season looms near, it’s time to think about how to ease the transition for our little ones. Life will be entirely different compared to the carefree days of summer and that’s why it’s wise to start preparing for the return to school at least a couple of weeks in advance. There are steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve and make the switch so much smoother. So, let’s delve right into our guide on getting ready for the back-to-school season.
Adapt Your Daily Schedule
To ensure a seamless transition as the back-to-school season approaches, it’s important to establish a consistent morning routine for your child. Begin by setting a fixed wake-up time for them every day, even if you don’t have any specific plans. This will help them prepare for what their mornings will look like once they’re back at school. Encourage them to get ready by the time they would need to leave, fostering a sense of structure and responsibility. If you’re unsure about your child’s schedule, a simple solution is to start having lunch around the same time they would normally eat at school. By doing so, you prevent them from struggling to adapt from a morning of constant snacking with mommy or daddy to the designated lunchtime at school. Avoid those tears and tantrums by gradually incorporating these natural rhythms into your daily routine well in advance. This proactive approach will make the adjustment much easier for your child when the first day back to school arrives.
Make Your Mornings More Active
If you have fallen into the rhythm of those lazy summer mornings you can set the stage for a harmonious shift by making your mornings more active. Here are a few strategies to consider:
1. Engage in morning reading: Kickstart your child’s listening habits by reading a book to them during breakfast. Afterward, ask them questions about the story to reinforce their comprehension skills. This simple activity can reignite their love for learning and prepare them for the reading-focused school days ahead.
2. Review previous school work: Take some time each morning to go over your child’s past school assignments or projects. This helps them stay engaged with academic concepts and refreshes their memory before they return to the classroom. It also promotes a sense of continuity between their summer break and the upcoming school year.
3. Incorporate outside activities: Plan a few outdoor activities in the week leading up to the school’s reopening. Ensure that these activities require your child to leave the house and return around the same time as a typical school day. This helps reestablish their daily routine and readjust their internal clock to align with the school schedule.
The key is to ensure that your little one feels well-rested and prepared for the big day. Additionally, it’s a good idea to think about any new responsibilities or independent tasks they’ll have when school starts. Will they be packing their own lunch? Choosing their own clothes? Waking up their younger sibling? If so, encourage your child to start practicing these activities now to build confidence and familiarity before the bus arrives or the school day begins. Early preparation will pay off in conflict-free and efficient mornings!
Streamline Sleep Routines
Okay, I have a confession to make: my kids have a knack for staying up late, especially during those summer months when the world is buzzing with excitement! I mean, who am I to say no to spontaneous dinners with friends, outdoor movie nights, or those magical backyard bonfires under starry skies? Life’s all about creating unforgettable memories. However, when the back-to-school season comes knocking, it’s time to switch gears to sleep boot camp. We start setting stricter boundaries around nighttime activities and establish a more consistent bedtime routine. The first week of school becomes an adjustment period in itself—Oliver often comes home exhausted and irritable. It becomes my mission to ensure that he gets the essential sleep he needs at night, laying the foundation for a successful day ahead.
To keep things on track, we rely on a nighttime and morning visual checklist for our kids. I admit that during most of the summer, we let those checklists take a backseat, allowing our kids to savor some untethered time. However, as the weeks leading up to school approach, we reintroduce these checklists to restore a sense of structure. And if you’ve reached that point of summer where it feels like your kids are staying up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon with you, fear not—simply bring their bedtime back by ten minutes each day for ten days (or until you reach their normal bedtime) before the first day of school. Problem solved!
Turn Off the TV
Here’s a tip if you’re struggling to get your little ones to drift off to dreamland. Brace yourself, because this one’s a game-changer! Studies have shown that cutting off screen time 30 minutes before bedtime can work wonders for sleep quality. If your kids have become accustomed to more screen time than usual during the summer months (hey, no judgment here), it’s time to gradually reduce it as they prepare to return to school. Whether it’s the TV, their phones, or those addictive iPads, making a conscious effort to turn off those electronic devices a little earlier each day will not only help them fall asleep faster but also prepare them for the reduced screen time they’ll encounter at school. It’s a win-win situation, my friends. By implementing this simple change, you’re setting the stage for a smoother transition back to school and ensuring that their sleep patterns align with the demands of the classroom. So, let’s power down those screens and let the magic of a tech-free evening work its wonders. You’ve got this!
Turn Up the Talk
If you’re wondering how to fill that extra screen time, why not engage your little ones in setting goals for the upcoming school year? Depending on their age, they may initially give short answers, but you can help them expand on their ideas. For example, if they say they “want to be nice”, you can encourage them to think about specific actions they can take by a certain date. Take the time to write down these goals together and have them “sign” their names, creating a sense of commitment. Then, proudly display this goal sheet in their room as a constant reminder. It’s a wonderful way to foster a sense of purpose and accountability from the very beginning.
In addition to goal-setting, take the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your kids about their hopes and fears for the upcoming school year. Address their concerns proactively to ease their worries. For instance, if they’re anxious about starting a new school, consider arranging a walk or drive to the school so they can get familiar with the surroundings and see how close (or far) it is from home. You could even reach out to the school and schedule a tour to further alleviate their anxieties. Another great idea is to seek out the school’s mom pages or parent groups and find out if there’s another child in their class. This can lead to setting up a playdate and a chance to make a new friend before the school year begins, providing a sense of familiarity and comfort on those initial days.
By turning up the talk and actively engaging with your children, you’re not only building their communication skills but also nurturing their emotional well-being as they approach the new school year. So, let those conversations flow and create a supportive and empowering environment for your little ones. They’ll thank you for it!
The start of the school year brings significant changes not just for our little ones but for us parents as well. The transition can feel overwhelming, but don’t worry—these practical tips will help you get organized and calmly navigate this new chapter.
First things first, it’s time to tackle that school supplies shopping trip. And here’s a little hack: instead of tediously writing your child’s name on every single item, create or order a sheet of labels with their name in a fun font and with a picture of their favorite animal or dinosaur. Simply stick a label on each supply, and you’re good to go! It’s a simple yet efficient way to save time and ensure everything is labeled properly.
Next up, weekly meal planning becomes crucial during the school year. With your kids coming home hungry and eager to refuel after a day of hard work, having a well-thought-out meal plan in place is a lifesaver. I highly recommend utilizing the Meals function in your Artful Agenda digital planner. This way, everyone in the family knows what’s on the menu, and you can easily keep track of the needed ingredients using the Lists tab.
As a working mom, I understand the need for a solid after-school routine. With your children transitioning from school to other forms of care, it’s essential to have a clear plan in place. Take the time to firm up those plans now, whether it’s arranging sitters or coordinating activities. By establishing the routine for before and after-school care ahead of time, you’ll minimize stress as the first day of school approaches. Additionally, it’s wise to have a backup plan in case of any unforeseen delays and to inform your emergency contact list about the school and after-school program locations for a smooth pickup process. Having these measures in place will bring you peace of mind.
Make Your Life Easier Tomorrow, Today
It might feel like a lot of effort in the moment when you are just trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, but investing time and energy in these steps now will save you a ton of aggravation later on. Alleviating the stressors of the back-to-school season will create an environment that is more enjoyable and conducive to learning for everyone involved. By implementing these strategies of establishing routines, streamlining sleep and screen time, and being proactive in your planning and organizing for the school year, you’ll be making your life easier today, and you’ll set yourself and your family up for a smoother back-to-school experience tomorrow. Embrace the adventure of this next chapter with confidence and embrace the opportunities for growth and learning that await your little ones. Parents, it’s time to get ready, you’ve got this!
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