With Back to School officially in swing many of us are struggling to get used to the changes in routine. I’ve taken a few moments to jot down Top Ten Back to School Tips that would help all of us to ease into the routine without much headache. As always, I love your feedback and if you have tips to add, please leave a comment letting me know what ways you make back to school an easy transition for all.
Top Ten Back to School Tips
Make early bedtimes a must
We all fall into the lax during the summer months of letting our kids stay up later than they normally would, even if they do have to go to childcare or babysitters the next day. With school requiring not only earlier wake ups but also their full concentration each day it is more important than ever for children of all ages to get enough rest. School aged to teens need at minimum 8 hours but up to 10-12 hours of sleep a night depending on the child and their level of activity.
Don’t neglect giving your child special attention
With all the hustle and bustle involved in coordinating after school care, extra-curricular activities, homework and daily routines like dinner, baths and chores children can often feel forgotten or even neglected during the first few weeks of school. All of your attention may be focused on just getting through each day when they need you to take a few minutes to just sit, snuggle, ask questions, listen or even take them for a treat and let them know you love them.
Prep as much as possible for lunches & dinners on the weekend
I spend 1-2 hours on Sunday afternoons washing, slicing, dicing and portioning common fruits and veggies we use during the week. Baby carrots, celery and cucumber for lunch boxes. Bell Pepper, Onions and mushrooms for dinner. Some sandwiches and wraps can be made ahead and wrapped so grabbing and going is easy. I also make ahead quick breakfast burritos, sandwiches and yogurt parfaits to pull from fridge or freezer on the way out the door each day.
Make school wardrobes interchangeable for younger kids
Don’t waste so much time picking out clothes for your younger children each day. Make sure everything in their wardrobe is in a color pallet that matches easily so you won’t fear what they walk out wearing. For younger kids solid pants with any tee or sweater is easy. I find basic denim, khaki, white, navy and a pop or two of color are easy to coordinate with almost any graphic tee, sweatshirt or button down.
Alternately choose 5 to 7 outfits for following week on weekend
As I do laundry each weekend it’s easy to pre match daily outfits for my kids and have hanging ready for them to grab and go each morning without fuss about what to wear.
Take showers or baths before bed instead of in morning
Not only are nightly showers and baths soothing and help younger kids relax and go to bed easier, this also saves time in the morning. Older kids (especially girls with hair care desires) may prefer a morning shower. Adapt to your family’s individual needs.
Create a Chore & Responsibility Chart
With homework and extracurricular activities being included in the list, this can be especially important for kids to stay on track.
Use a spreadsheet, poster board or simple journal page but make sure to sit down and assign each child their daily chores and responsibilities and have them keep track on their page or chart to make sure things like watering the dog or feeding the fish are taken care of. This can also be a way to track if homework is done, backpack has been gone through and assignments completed.
Turn off the TV & Game Systems
Many kids come home and immediately want to relax in front of the TV but time can get away from them easily and suddenly bedtime is here and they have an hour of homework left to complete. Utilize the DVR/PVR to record things they might otherwise miss and allow them to watch at a later date when other responsibilities have been taken care of.
Don’t Forget To Praise
Even if you are tired of seeing color pages brought home by your kindergartener never forget to praise him or her for their hard work and improvements. If your teen struggles in a subject but manages to bring in a higher or unexpectedly good grade give that high five and make sure they know you are proud of them. And that leads us to our final tip.
Reward for Hard Work
At the end of a good week when all chores are taken care of, grades are up and attitudes have been positive make sure to reward your kids for their hard work. Whether it is an ice cream after dinner or a special movie night in, even the smallest of treats can show them how much you love them and are proud of them.
The first few weeks of the back to school season can be hectic and trying on any family no matter how organized they are. Adapt as you see fit to suit your individual family dynamic but always remember that this is just a phase that you will adapt back into soon enough. Give your kids the time and space they need and don’t forget that a little downtime can fix a ton of issues with the hurry and stress involved with the back to school season.
Well, these are my Top Ten Back to School Tips. If you have your own ideas, please let me know in the comments 🙂