Once the kids go back to school, it means going back to homework, crazy schedules and the demands of afterschool activities. If you’re having trouble readjusting, you’re not alone. For me, the summer provided a much-needed break that allowed me to enjoy my family and also gave my kids the chance to play. They had so much fun without having to rush from one place to another. Now that school is back in session, I am once again constantly checking my daily schedule and making sure I don’t forget anything. I even include school projects and meetings! If you have a smartphone, it’s really helpful to set reminders that give you ample time to stop whatever you’re doing and head out the door to pick up your child, take him or her to their afterschool activities and later go back home.
I try not to overschedule my kids, but it’s not always possible due to tryouts or sports practices. That’s why it’s very important to teach them to take care of themselves, especially if they are student athletes. I’ve taught them to eat healthy snacks and to stay hydrated so they “have enough fuel” to practice the sports they love.
How to help kids adjust to the back to school routine
Here are 7 tips that work for me to help kids adjust to school:
- Organize everything ahead of time: supplies, school lunches, and clothes. This prevents morning meltdowns.
- Adjust their bedtime schedule: if you didn’t do this in the two weeks leading to the official beginning of the school year, do it ASAP. Start making your kids disconnect from electronics at least half an hour before the desired bedtime. If they still have trouble falling asleep, be extra patient the first days of school and every day make them get into bed 15-20 minutes earlier than what they were used to during the summer.
- Implement systems from the beginning: structure helps everybody get back on track. Specify where things should go, from backpacks to textbooks, homework to school paperwork.
- Print a schedule: yes, we live in a digital world, but it helps kids to see what they will be doing and when. Younger children enjoy decorating their schedule, so it’s also an activity you can do together. You can also use a whiteboard or traditional calendar. For older kids, a simple printout helps them visualize their day and you can pin it on their desk.
- Have labeled bins or folders for school documents: tell your child to leave anything important from school, like forms or flyers, in those bins or folders and make sure to check them before you go to bed.
- Lead by example. Kids pick up on our stress and anxiety, so try to remain calm even when things are hectic.
- Avoid overscheduling your children, especially the first two weeks. Whenever possible, try to limit activities that aren’t really necessary. Keep your kids focused on school and allow them to relax over the weekend. If they do have sports practices, make sure they have free time to relax and not do anything related to school.
Do you have any other tips to stay healthy and sane during the school year? Please share with me in the comments below.