Many families are either preparing to head back to school or have already started. Where did the last six weeks go? Mornings went from a slow saunter to now a mad dash. Nights were peaceful and quiet to now nothing but homework awaits. Summer is now just a distant sight in the rearview mirror. If you are like me, you’ve hit a dozen different stores to find just the right pencils and color folders. You can almost hear the school bus screeching to a stop just down the street. The reminder that mornings feel like a mad dash out the door and you begin to dread the upcoming evenings of tug-of-war over homework, dinner, showers, and bedtime. I don’t know about you, but that transition from summer to back at school can feel quite jolting!
Over the past few weeks, I have spent some time talking with other seasoned parents about what they did to help them manage that jolting transition. Here are some of the tips and tricks they offered, not just for how to manage the first week but how to successfully manage the year.
Routines can feel anxiety-inducing for some but they don’t have to be. Creating a functional routine that works for you can be a game-changer! One of the greatest suggestions that I kept seeing over and over again to help combat the bedtime battle was to slowly back up bedtime. Over the course of a week simply back up bedtime by 5-10 minutes each day. Doing this will help prevent it from feeling so jolting. Another great suggestion I heard was to prep the night before. Create as little stress for the next morning as possible. Prep whatever lunches are needed for the next day, have a specific place for backpacks or other items needed to be ready to head out the door, as part of your bedtime routine pick out the next day’s clothes. Whatever you do, make your routine work for you.
One of our Office Managers was telling a suggestion she had heard from a third-grade teacher and it was just too good not to include. One of the things that this third-grade teacher recommended to her parents was to be intentional with how you greet your kids at the end of the day. For a moment, forego the questions about homework and conflicts of the day but take this moment to remember that they are human and they matter. Greet them with an “It’s so great to see you! I hope you had a good day at school!” Greet them with positive statements, rather than questions. Let their first moments of interacting with you be moments that help them to feel like they matter to you and not about a task list. And I know sometimes with teenagers getting them to talk can be a challenge. One of the things we do in our house is “high, low, what did you learn new today?” (High- what was the best part of your day. Low- what was the thing you least liked about today.) around the dinner table. Creating an atmosphere of open communication will help you to gauge some of the feelings your kids are having about school.
We have talked before about the power of play and that doesn’t matter how old your kids are. Even just getting outside for 30 minutes can make a huge difference. It seems so simple, but it’s easy to get home and get to cracking on homework right away. But for a moment just think about it, they have spent their entire day sitting and learning, which can feel exhausting. There is a lot of pent-up energy in those little bodies that just needs to escape.
One of the things we need to consistently remind ourselves is that our kids just desire to be kids and have fun. The more that you can infuse fun into as much as you can with your kids you will create a deeper connection with them and help to disarm their stress and fears.
There are so many more tips and tricks that we could offer but we just wanted to give you a few. Do you have some tips and tricks that have been successful for you and your family? Comment them below.
We truly hope that you have a great start to the school year!