“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”– Benjamin Franklin
As summer ends, your kids will probably experience a great sense of change. Of course, this experience is expected from kids who have been getting to bed past bedtime, getting up late, and probably having no schedule. However, things get more challenging when summer sunshine and the fun outdoor activities usher in darker and cold days.
That’s not all; returning to school after the long summer break may cause epic tantrums. Kids may feel a little scared and nervous at the thought of going back to school. The idea of meeting new things, new friends, new teachers, and maybe a new school is not always welcome. Coping and regulating behaviors could also be challenging since they lost their coping mechanisms during the holiday.
You can manage these ‘back-to-school’ challenges and more through streamlining a back-to-school routine, as shown below.
Wake up Earlier
Begin your day with some ‘alone’ time. You can set your alarm to go 30 minutes earlier than your kids’ waking time. Waking up earlier makes it possible to begin the day proactively and intentionally. You also get to decide how you want the morning to be and what you want to get done.
Use that time to clear your mind and recharge for the day ahead. You can also use this time to read a book, enjoy coffee or use the bathroom. Waking up earlier gives you incredible momentum that causes you to accomplish your goals. You also achieve more since you have enough daily time to get things done. It also makes you happier and ready for your kids once they are up.
Plan before going to Bed
Planning at night plays a significant role in achieving a smooth school morning. Encourage everyone in the family to do what they can before bed. For example, they can lay out tomorrow’s clothes, pack lunch, plan breakfast, and do homework, among other activities that will reduce the morning rush. You can also encourage your kids to take baths and showers in the evenings, especially if they need your assistance. Finally, come up with a bedtime routine that makes morning activities less hectic.
Your kids can do most of the above activities independently or with little supervision. It is also an incredible idea to set aside space where you keep all the school necessities for the next day. It saves a lot of time that would otherwise be wasted running around the house looking for different stuff. Preparing in advance is a great time management skill and teaches your child independence. Therefore, don’t be afraid to assign them some tasks after school.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is a significant factor when planning your school routine. It is as good as exercise and nutrition, reduces stress, boosts immunity, and lowers the risk of many health conditions.
Sleep is essential for you, just as it is for your children. Getting enough sleep leads to more productivity. Children who sleep less than 8 hours tend to be cranky, tired, and generally slow than those who get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can also cause low productivity, irritability, and poor performance in school.
How to ensure that your kids get enough sleep:
- Create a regular sleep pattern
- Close all devices an hour before bedtime.
- Abolish the habit of surfing the internet, texting, or overusing of phone past bedtime.
- Create a good sleep environment that is quiet and with a comfortable bed.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages before bedtime
- Engage in physical exercise after school
- Avoid heavy meals before going to bed.
Minimize Breakfast Choices
A breakfast meal should always be a priority. It is said that it is the most important meal of the day. However, ensuring your kids get nourished should not hinder the morning schedule.
Breakfast should not create extra pressure in the morning. Rather than planning in the morning, ask your kids what they would like for breakfast in the evening. However, please give them a few choices from a list of easy-to-make food to avoid spending too much time preparing.
Foods that make great breakfast options include milk and cereals, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, waffles, and whole-grained bread, to mention a few. These foods are easy to grab when in a rush and contain nutrients. You even take advantage of breakfast offered in your child’s daycare or school. The main idea is to ensure that breakfast doesn’t wrench the day as it starts.
Compile a Checklist
As a parent, you will require a checklist to guide you on the supplies you need to buy for your children. Importantly, your kids will also require a list to ensure they are ready for school each morning and promptly. It can be challenging for kids to remember everything they need to do, especially at the start of a school year. Creating a checklist can help them to get back on track and easily adjust to the school routine.
Help the children create a list of what they take to school daily. The checklist may include brushing teeth and hair, washing face, dressing up, eating breakfast, grabbing lunchbox and water bottle, packing all school books and pencil case, using the bathroom, turning off the lights, etc. Hang the checklist somewhere they can easily see it and write it in bright colors for easy visibility.
Create a Routine
Arguably, this is the best back-to-school tip for parents. Routine is as essential for kids as it is for parents. People who work without a pattern are often unsure of what they should be doing at different times of the day and tend to forget to accomplish essential tasks. A routine is crucial for kids, significantly when schooling, since it improves their discipline and time management abilities.
Setting a solid routine for your kids is essential at the beginning of the school year. The routine should be straightforward about when the kids should retire to bed and the appropriate time to do their homework. Make sure that they sleep for about 9 hours for adequate rest. The best time to do homework is immediately after the kids are home when learned information is still fresh in their minds.
Creating a routine helps to bring comfort and consistency to your children’s lives and provides them with a sense of normality. Operating without a routine can cause children much stress for fear of the unknown. A routine helps to set expectations, creates habits, and improves children’s independence and confidence.
Sample morning routine
Here’s an example of what a back-to-school routine might look like:
7.00 am: All kids to wake up and take a few minutes to pray, meditate, or slightly talk about their night
7.10 am: Clean up and get dressed.
7:40 am: Have a simple and nutritious breakfast.
8.05 am: Brush teeth
8.15 am: Pack lunch, water, books, pencils, and all necessary school supplies
8.20 am: Put on masks and apply sunscreen
8.25 am: Leave home for school.
Every family is unique. Come up with a list that works for your family.
Create a List of all Important Dates
The knowledge of all the essential dates in school helps both parents and students to prepare in advance. Some of the vital term dates on your list include parents’ evening, child’s class assembly, curriculum meetings, school trips, and PTFA meetings, among others. These dates are usually available on the school website, or the school will notify you through a newsletter.
Going back to school and the experience of the morning rush can be pretty stressful to both children and parents because so much needs to be done within a short period. It is usual for everyone to get a bit concerned by the morning pressure. Many parents wonder what they can do to improve the morning rush experience.
You can create positivity in the morning by taking time to connect with your children. For instance, you can ask them how they slept and what they look forward to achieving today. You can also play a song they love as they prepare, hug them, give affectionate touch, and maintain a calm tone when talking, among other things.
Celebrate every Success
Acknowledge and congratulate your kids on completing their tasks on time and encourage them to stick to a routine. Noticing the good is acknowledging wins while remaining patient on things they struggle to achieve.
Remember that your children are okay with being expected to follow the routine as part of the family is a group effort. As such, rewards are not used in these moments because they gain a sense of capability and pride when the whole group succeeds. Instead, acknowledge their efforts and appreciate their contribution towards reaching each day’s goals. In addition, routines help kids to focus on what needs to be done. These group efforts create a feeling of capability and eliminate chances of power struggle.
Learn to Delegate
When your children are younger, you do almost everything for them. Unfortunately, this habit can continue even as they grow older unless you slowly introduce them to some tasks.
A new school year is a good time to recheck your child’s skills and capabilities and add new responsibilities to their morning routine. You can begin practice on new tasks during summer rather than waiting until schools resume. In addition, it is much easier to teach kids new skills when you are not in a rush rather than squeezing lessons amid a busy school morning.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I make the back-to-school transition easy?
1. Allow your child to be stressed and help them overcome their fears.
2. Reduce your child’s home activities.
3. Talk to your child’s teacher about their challenges.
4. Take time to relax and play together.
5. Maintain open communication and encourage them to talk about their feelings.
6. Ensure that they get enough sleep and eat healthy meals.
My child is quite anxious about going back to school after the summer. How can I help them?
1. Please get to the route of their fear and offer emotional support.
2. Brainstorm together how you can reduce the worry.
3. Discuss the issue with their teacher and devise the most appropriate solutions.
4. Come up with effective coping strategies to make your child feel better.
5. Create a morning routine to boost their confidence and sense of security.
6. Please encourage them to write their worrisome thoughts in a journal to lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed.
How can I help my kids to manage time effectively after the long summer holiday?
1. Have a clear list of all activities they need to accomplish and arrange them based on their priorities. Also, include resting time too.
2. Set aside time to study or do homework and use different color codes for various subjects for a more straightforward interpretation of the schedule.
3. Please encourage them to work on assignments early to beat all deadlines.
4. Break large projects into small manageable chunks. Meeting smaller goals will encourage them to keep on working towards bigger goals.
5. Discourage multitasking since divided attention leads to unproductive progress.
Minimize mental and physical distractions.
Please encourage them to have regular breaks amid activities to avoid burnout.
How can I have some alone time as a homeschool parent?
1. Schedule it. You can talk to another adult to take care of your family as you take some moments alone at least once a week.
2. Engage in an activity that fills you up, such as reading a book or playing the piano.
3. Avoid being a perfectionist. If you must, let go of some tasks and take that walk!
4. Accept when you miss out on some free time and plan for it on a later date.
Our Final Thought:
The beginning of the school year can be exciting and stressful for children and parents. Enrollment in a new class, getting new books, and meeting new friends can be pretty exciting. However, going back to a life of a strict schedule and more responsibilities is not always welcome in our kids’ thoughts. They can struggle to remain on track after spending a lot of time at home without a regular schedule. The above tips will help get them back on track, cause them to be more enthusiastic about learning, and help them reach their full learning potential.
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