It’s that time of year again. You linger over magazine spreads of elaborately organized homework stations and color-coded family calendar systems, and you develop the sudden conviction that a label maker will change your life. It’s back-to-school, the time of year that has a way of bringing out the inner organizer in all of us. While it’s tempting to think that redesigning your child’s workspace will transform your school year, it’s actually the habits that you cultivate now that can have the greatest positive impact. Here are seven tips for easing the transition from the lazy days of summer to back-to-school.
Roll Back Bedtime
Two weeks before school, start moving your child’s bedtime back by 15 minutes every night. You should wake them up a corresponding 15 minutes earlier each morning, until you reach the time they need to get up on a school morning. According to the National Sleep Foundation
, school-age children need a solid 9-11 hours of sleep each night, so plan your bedtimes accordingly!
Ready Set Go!
The key to a good morning is being organized the night before. Get your kids into the habit of laying out their school clothes and packing their backpacks and sports bags before they go to bed. Whether it’s a mudroom or a dedicated school launch pad
, make sure you have a spot in your house to put all the backpacks, soccer bags, school projects, and permission slips that are heading off to school the next day.
Save the custom omelette station for the weekends, and have a selection of grab-and-go items ready
for school mornings. Yogurts, muffins, fruit salad, breakfast bars, juice, and milk are all good and easy options when you need to keep the morning routine moving.
Minimize Homework Headaches
Young children can find transitions between activities to be challenging, especially when it’s the switch from playtime to homework! You will find that the evenings go much smoother if you get your child in the habit of sitting down to do their homework as soon as they get home. Hand them a snack and encourage them to get right to work while they are still in “school mode,” because pulling them back to complete homework after an hour of play or relaxation is so much harder for everyone involved!
Create Connection Time
Gathering around the table for family dinner every night is a great goal, but increasingly tough to accomplish as the kids get older and the evenings get busier. Get creative in finding a regular time each day when you and your child are able to have a real conversation. Perhaps it’s breakfast time, the drive to soccer practice, or the ten minutes before bed when you are exhausted but they are suddenly chatty and ready to share. Find whatever works in your house, and treat that time like your most important appointment of the day.
Finally, when you plan out your morning and evening routine for the school year, build in some extra time for those lost sneakers, indecisive fashion moments, and overtired and cranky moods. When you are late to get out the door or put the kids in bed, everyone is short-tempered and stressed. A little extra time can help you navigate the unexpected pitfalls of the school routine.