Switching from a summer to school schedule can be stressful for the entire family – even the adults. The trick is to plan ahead, identify problem areas and search for strategies to stay organized and help ease your child seamlessly back into school mode. Here are few ideas to get you started.
To help alleviate morning stress, have your child help you lay out their clothes, or you can work on the weekend to pick out clothes for the whole week. Put shoes and book bag in the same spot every night so you can grab and go the next morning. Go through the next day’s schedule with your child and make sure there are no timing issues with before or after school activities.
If your child is still little, use an illustrated checklist to establish a good morning routine. If they are older, then a list to remind them of what needs to happen first, second, and third should work just fine. Have them help you with lunch and snacks. Create an area in your kitchen where you keep the containers and lunch bags and designate a drawer or basket in your fridge for lunch basics – cut up fruit, sandwiches, drink boxes, and cheese strings, for example.
Have a command center with an inbox so your kids can put permission slips, notes from the teachers, and any homework that needs to be signed in one place. If your child is little, you can go through the book bag with them to find these notes. Make sure you have one place for a homework station that is fully stocked with supplies. Use an egg timer or your phone to help them focus on one project or assignment at a time and give them breaks in between. Model good behavior by working on your own projects during homework time. Stay close by. You want to make sure you are ready to help if questions come up.
Develop good habits early! Having a weekly planner for assignments and deadlines can be extremely handy. Make sure you have a weekly family planning session where you go over what they are writing down to help them plan backwards from deadlines and keep activities on all calendars so you know when they have soccer or rehearsals. This way you can plan things like travel time and dinner and keep things running smoothly.
Going from lazy carefree days to a more regimented schedule can be stressful, but if practice your routine a few days in advance and gradually help set the bedtime and wake time, you can help everyone in the family adjust before that first day back.
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