The first day of school pictures have been taken and the kids, teachers and parents are attempting to remove the cobwebs from the brain and return to the task of schedules, school work and sitting still. Ahhhhh..... the days of summer are now behind us as we return to the next 9 months of alternative routines.
For some, this is a remarkable relief to get the kids back to school and out of the house. For others, the transition is a bit more challenging with the memories and excitement of sleepaway camp still fresh in our minds. Stories of newly made friends, the excitement of Color War, the winning home run and the thrill of the overnight camp out are still so fresh. The high schoolers that went on trips of excitement and expansion have stories, photos and are eager to catch up with their friends from home.
In either case, the shift back to home life is a challenge for everyone.
So what can you do to help the entire family shift without losing the beauty of summer?
Bedtime. Since sleep is of utmost importance, you want to make sure your family is getting enough. But in reality, and I don’t care how strict of a parent you may be, it is tough to go from the looseness of summer to the controlled routine of the school year. So, you have to gradually get into the swing of things. Set the bedtime about 15 minutes earlier each night until you are back on “School Standard Time”. But alas, don’t be hard on yourself or your kids. Everyone will be tired for a week or so.
Start making the school schedule spreadsheet. Every member of the family gets to participate. The first part is time to arrive at school and time it ends. And from there, you work backwards as you plug in the “musts” and the “wants”. Click here to get a copy of a simple school prep calendar.
Preparing the workspace for school studies. The school supplies have been purchased. The backpack is full. Make sure the homework space is clear, clean and ready for action. Just as the cobwebs are being swept from the brain, make sure the study area is cleaned and ready as well.
Set some smart goals for the year. Help your children identify some goals as well as action plans that have the following characteristics. They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. For example, if the goal is to Earn Better Grades and in evaluation, it appears as if homework was a problem, you may want to help your child with the following goal:
During the first marking period, I will complete my homework during the hours of 6 to 7 p.m. on school nights at my desk in my bedroom. After completing my homework, I will put my homework in a homework folder and put it in my backpack. At school the next day I will turn in my homework to my teacher. I will revise this goal after receiving my first marking period report card.
This stated goal meets all the criteria listed above and can be easily scheduled in your planner in #2.
Get set the night before. And make this a daily routine. Clothes picked out, alarms set, homework in backpacks, lunches made, activity list reviewed, paperwork completed. Not only will getting set the night before help in the morning rush, but it will also help for a better night sleep for everyone.
And mom and dad, the most peaceful time of the day is usually before the kids get up to get ready for the morning. I don’t know about you, but I always got up well before the kids, do my stretches, prepare breakfast, MAKE THE COFFEE, and shake off the sleepy grumpiness so I can help my kids start the day with a happy start. And I always ate breakfast with the kids. The old — monkey see, monkey do!
Good luck with the prep and the first days back to school. Please share your tips and ideas for getting ready for the first day.