We know back to school can be one hectic time for our busy parents. Getting kids (and us) back into the school routine can be plain hard. Whether it’s sprinting to catch the bus or sitting in the school’s drop-off lane with overtired kids, or picking that perfect outfit when laundry is overflowing the baskets, mornings can be especially difficult.
We’ve already shared with you some pretty helpful back-to-school hacks in a previous blog. We’ve shared how to create a homework station so your kids aren’t rummaging through your desk for a highlighter, and how to solve that perfect outfit dilemma before they are running late in the morning, but this week we want to discuss how to transition to a back-to-school schedule.
After a summer full of freedom and later- faces all year (or a close second than-normal nights, getting back into the school night bed time routine can be exhausting. In fact, we believe it may be one of the biggest challenges a parent faces (behind remembering to move the Elf on the Shelf every night.) The National Sleep Foundation suggests beginning the transition about two weeks before school starts – and do it incrementally! Move bedtime and wake time up a little each day to help make the change easier for everyone involved. They also suggest keeping the same routine on the weekend, and avoiding caffeine and big meals before bedtime. Limit those electronics before bed. Consider adopting a relaxing bedtime routine and a peaceful bedroom environment for the little ones, too. This is one more reason we love a bed-time story or reading time before bed.
Returning to a regular sleep cycle can be a challenge, but so is the rest of our home lives during back to school. We’ve gathered some more tips on how to make those transitions, too!
The All You blog offers scheduling suggestions that will help calm the chaos of returning to school, and that sounds promising! First off, they suggest that parents wake up an hour before the kids. After all, enjoying a peaceful cup of coffee before chaos – we mean the kids – wake up can help arm us for whatever the day holds in store.
An hour later, when you’ve successfully caffeinated, or exercised, or simply showered and dressed, it’s time to wake the kiddos. You’ll know how best to do this, but consider an alarm that requires the child to perform a small task, like a puzzle, to turn it off if your youngster is not a morning person.
Five minutes later, help them get dressed. Lay out outfits the night before or use one of the hacks we mentioned in our previous back-to-school blog. Once that’s finished, about 10 minutes later, it’s time for them to complete their morning tasks, like making their bed. The All You bloggers suggest keeping charts with task lists in their bedroom, so that they can complete the tasks before leaving their room for breakfast.
Another 10 minutes later, or 25 minutes after rising and shining, serve your children a healthy breakfast. This can be one of those areas where simple is key. Consider instant oatmeal, toast with almond butter, cereal, and other grab-and-go items for this task.
Once breakfast is complete, it’s a trip to the bathroom for the toothbrushes and hair brushes. A list in the foyer of all the school essentials – gym clothes, lunch, back pack, after-school necessities – will help everyone get out the door, even if they are half asleep! Once you get on a schedule, your kids can be off to school one hour after waking! That sounds like a victory!
After school, have your youngsters unpack their backpacks as soon as they get home. We have organization hacks in our previous blog. The All You bloggers suggest buying a two pocket action folder to keep in their backpacks. One pocket is for take-home items, and the other is take-to-school items. Once they are unpacked, fuel them up with an after school snack. And, within about 45 minutes of arriving home, keep them on track by having them start their homework.
After dinner, be sure to take the time to organize their backpacks and then it’s bath time. The All You bloggers suggest having your kids power down from their electronics by 7:30 p.m. and then establishing a bedtime ritual by about 9 p.m. Like the rest of the schedule, the most important part is to stick to it!
Good luck with sending the youngsters off to school! We know it can be an emotional day for everyone involved!
We’d also love to hear any of your suggestions you have for transitioning from summer freedom to back to school schedules, or any tips you have on getting your kids on a schedule in general! Post your feedback below!