The summer is drawing to a close, and the school year is almost here! Back to school is an exciting time for the whole family with new school supplies, the chance to make new friends, and meeting new teachers for the next grade. One of the more difficult things about this time, however, is getting back into a daily routine. Waking up early, staying focused for extended periods of time, and having assignments to do are all things that take a break during the summer, and can be a struggle to adjust to right out of the gate. Here are three simple tips to help you and yours adjust to the school year as painlessly as possible!
1. Start Small & Early
One of the best things you can do to help yourself and your children adjust to the school year is to not wait until school is already in session. If your kids have gotten used to sleeping until 9am, but the bus picks them up at 7:45, start moving their wakeup time back by 10-15 minutes at a time for a week or two. That way you won’t jolt them awake with less than a good night’s sleep for the first day of school! If your child really has a hard time with mornings, you may want to try some of these ideas to make the early morning adjustment a little easier, and make sure you have a morning routine that works for you and your family.. Instead of throwing them straight from laying around into school, try having them come up with things they want to learn, and setting goals for learning about it! If your children resist, talk about why you are doing it, and why it will help them in the long run. This may uncover some of the big fears or concerns they have about back to school, and allow you to have a good one on one conversation about it.
2. Involve Your Kids
Instead of doing it all on your own and just dragging your kids along for the ride, try to involve your kids in the process. Ask them what is hardest for them to get used to at the beginning of the school year, and have them brainstorm ways to make that easier with you. Have each child come up with 2 or 3 things they struggle with or have trouble adjusting to each fall, or if they cannot come up with any, have them come up with 2 or 3 things that are different about the school year. Take your time and talk with each child about ways to make the transition easier. Let them help make their back to school shopping lists, figure out their own morning routines to get ready, and more! The older they are, the more involved they should be in this process, so that as they get to high school and college they can adjust all on their own.
3. Make it Fun
Don’t let this process be a drag, make it fun for them and you! Instead of waking up earlier just to do it, try doing something special, like using the extra 15-30 minutes to make a special breakfast together, or let them drink “coffee” with you, giving younger kids some milk or a rooibos herbal tea to avoid the caffeine high. Instead of giving them busywork to do to avoid the sudden jolt of school assignments, make sure they are choosing topics that genuinely interest them! If your child loves singing in choir, try having them learn about the history of choral singing. If your child is fascinated by big trucks, try learning about how engines work or how cars were first built. If your child loves art, try finding how-tos for them to learn new techniques, or the history of their favorite style. Let them choose a book or two on their favorite topic, and challenge them to read a certain number of chapters or pages each day.