All around the country, kids and parents are thinking about preparing a new back to school routine. While it’s primarily an event for the kids, it impacts the whole family, as everyone adjusts to a new schedule. Now is the time to begin easing into a new back to school routine. A little pre-planning now will mean fewer problem on the first day of school.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Begin A Readjustment Period
Begin by re-establishing school year time priorities. Now is the time to get back in the habit of going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, getting back in the routine of getting dressed on time and out the door. But it’s okay to take the few remaining weeks of summer to ease into it. If you begin easing bedtime back by 10-15 minutes each week or so and rising 10-15 minutes earlier also, you’ll be where you want to be by the first day of school–without any tantrums or grumpiness.
Dust Off Your Organizational Skills
Now is the time to begin getting organized for the school year ahead. Gather paperwork you’ll need for school and after-school activities. Schedule any doctor or dental appointments that are needed. Begin collecting school supplies and organizing reading assignments, if necessary.
Be Willing To Let Some Things Go
Expect some regression in behavior, especially if your child is going to a new school or making a life-change like starting a new extracurricular activity or an after-school job. Mild regression is normal when children are under stress–and children are no different than adults when it comes to difficulty adjusting to a new routine. Expect your child to be a little more on edge than usual, even more emotional. Remember that you’re a role model, so keep calm and monitor your own reactions. And remember to give yourself and your kids a break. It’s okay to decide to let some things go.
Lend An Ear
Just as you ask your child for facts — about their teacher, classmates and subjects — ask them about their feelings, too. Then listen. Provide support and perspective as needed. You may find a comment such as, “I hate school,” turns out to be that the lunches served at your child’s school had been “yuchy,” though everything else was fine. Gentle emotional probing on your part will give you a chance to experience the level of your child’s ability to express their emotions, and can help him or her sort through them effectively.
It’s never easy to adjust to a new schedule. But with time, planning and patience, you and your kids will be settling into your back to school routine before you know it.