How is it that summer days at times seem to crawl, yet the back-to-school blitz seems to sneak up on us year after year, with summer in its entirety flying by? This year is no exception, and seemingly, just as quickly as I was pondering how to entertain my kids day after day, I’m getting ready to send them back and re-enter the regular routine. I won’t pretend that I have it all under control, nor will I pretend that my own transition is all unicorns and rainbows. But there are a few things that I’ve picked up along the way:
Start the Routine Before it’s a Routine
If you wait until the night before the first day to get everything in order, it’s nearly guaranteed you’ll forget something or have chaos in the morning. Take the week or two before school starts to gradually reacclimate to the non-summer grind. Start adjusting bedtimes back to the school-day time, get everyone not just up but actually moving a bit earlier in the morning, and begin to adjust back to the get-ready routine (yes, that means getting dressed near wakeup time again). By at least resuming the school-day patterns, you and your kids will be on the right track.
Make Sure Your Kids Know What to Expect
This is key for everyone, but particularly so for the little ones. Kids likely know that school is coming up, but their minds don’t often plan out the microdetails like ours do. Coach them. Make sure they know who their teacher is, what their day will look like, and if there are certain friends they can expect to see again. Do they have sports and extracurriculars starting back? Help them with a countdown. By laying the groundwork, they’ll have a better idea of what to expect and what’s expected of them – and typically have a smoother return when the time comes.
Do everything you can before the day of. This means prepping your Pinterest-worthy signs for those first day of school pictures, charging the battery in your camera, prepping lunches, laying out clothes – you get the idea. But beyond that, help your kids to pre-game and build up the hype. Help them to set some goals – and write them down! What are three things they’re looking forward to about their first day? What are three things they want to learn this year? You get the idea. Not only do these conversations and notes make adorable mementos in later years, but they help to build excitement for you and your kids.
Back-to-school season can be intimidating and a bit crazy – but it can also be a lot of fun and excitement. Enjoy these moments and the conversations with your kids they can inspire.