Getting into a Good Back-to-School Routine
School will be starting soon, and if you have gotten out of your “real life” routine over the summer, you might be starting to feel a bit anxious. School days mean getting up early in order to leave the house on time, homework, after-school activities, and tucking everybody into bed at a reasonable hour. For some of us, this is very different from what our summer days and nights look like! If you’re starting to feel your blood pressure rise at the thought of whipping everything into shape before school starts, here are some tips on making the transition less stressful for everyone:
- Start now! A week or two before school begins, start practicing your school-year routine. That means getting the kids used to their before-bed routines, turning off their lights at about the same time you will once they are in school, and waking them up (or having them wake up using an alarm) at the appropriate time. Saving this until the day that school actually starts is virtually guaranteed to cause mass mayhem, as you’ll be dealing with grumpy, sleep-deprived kids in addition to the normal stress that the first days of school bring.
- Practice the morning routine Running through the morning routine a few times will help ensure that things will go smoothly on the first day of school. It will also give you a feel for how long everything will take, as well as where everyone should be when, which is particularly important if you have two or more kids needing to take turns in the bathroom. Determine what time breakfast will be served, and make it your goal to have everybody dressed and ready before that time. An incentive, such as breakfast out or some other fun activity can keep the kids moving in the days before school begins.
- Also practice the evening routine The secret to smooth mornings is preparation in the evenings! If your kids take baths or showers before bed, make that a non-negotiable part of the routine now. If your kids tend to procrastinate, start the bedtime routine early enough so that lights-out can still occur at the correct time. You might try promising them a half hour of television or a special storytime if they can get themselves ready by a certain time; it’s bribery, but it will be helping them to establish a good habit.
- Designate a place for homework Rather than trying to find a workable solution when school begins, figure this out ahead of time. Buy the supplies that your child will need to complete homework (paper, crayons, pens, pencils, ink for the printer, highlighters, paperclips, and so on) and have him organize them on his desk or in a caddy that he will carry to the dining room table to do homework. Decide on rules ahead of time concerning when homework should be done and whether you will allow music or television to be playing in the background. It is easier to loosen up on rules as the year progresses than to make things more restrictive should problems occur, so keep that in mind when establishing rules and guidelines this early in the year.
- Find a place for everything and put everything in its place If you still have several weeks before school begins, take advantage of the time by helping the kids organize their bedrooms and the common study area. It can be difficult for them to keep their homework under control when their bedrooms are a mess, so this step can go a long way toward making things run more smoothly.
Getting organized is a skill that will not only help them as they adjust to school starting, but will last them a lifetime. Best of luck as your children begin the new academic year!