The transition between the free for all of summer and the tight schedule of the school year is a little rough for most families. Getting back to a set bedtime, waking up early, and coordinating pick-ups and drop-offs seems so daunting that you almost would rather send your kids off with the circus and wipe your hands of the whole school matter. Well, the good news is that we are right at the perfect time to start mentally preparing for school to start, and with a little family teamwork, you and the kids will be ready to go back.
Lists, Lists, Lists. Get yourself a little binder to keep checklists, schedules, phone numbers, and important documents for school (permission slips, reading lists, etc.). Give a section to each child. In their section, create a list of the school supplies they need, a list of appointments they need (haircut, teeth cleaning, shots, etc.), and whatever their summer assignments were. Check it all off as it gets done. Then, once school has started, you can keep a copy of their class schedule in their section. That way if there is an emergency, you know which class you’re calling them out of. It’s also a good idea to have a folder in each child’s section for forms that you need to sign. Use the left side for things that need to be signed and the right side for things that have been signed. If the binder is not for you, try a bulletin board with fun colored pins to keep track of all important lists and documents.
Practice the Routine. Start waking your kids up and sending them to bed a little earlier each night. Work in fifteen minute increments until they’re going to bed at 9:00pm instead of midnight and waking up at 6:00am instead of noon. Wake them up with a cup of water to drink and then go make breakfast. Brooke Burke has some great smoothie ideas to get nutrients in even the biggest breakfast enemies. Incorporate fresh fruits, veggies, protein, and fiber into breakfast so they have energy to sustain them through their morning classes.
Refresh their Memories. So much information is lost over the summer, so pull out their old notebooks and have them go over what they learned last year. You can also find workbook pages online to help them practice rusty skills. They’ll feel more confident when they walk through the doors when they aren’t afraid to be behind the other kids. Encourage reading time before bed, too. The more they read, the easier they will transition into assigned readings for class. Plus, reading as opposed to watching television before bed calms their minds and primes them for sleep.