Chaos Not Needed Returning to School
Back to school is in full swing! Families are already preparing to make the transition from long summer days filled with late nights, day trips and friends to early mornings, classes, homework and extracurricular activities. Whether it is kindergarten or college, the back to school season seems to create chaos in most homes.
The key to harmony instead of havoc is to be organized, organized and more organized! That is easier said than done, so I would like to share with you a few practical tips to make this time of year a little easier for you and your family.
Avoid the rush:
• Shop early! Local stores have better selections.
• Support uniforms. They are great! School supplies are usually stocked year ‘round. Obtain a supply list from your child’s school and purchase a few items every time you shop. It’s easier on your budget too. Keep a few supplies like construction paper, glue, markers and poster board on hand for special projects. You will avoid those late-night, frustrating trips to the store.
• Make sure immunization and medical records are up to date, and don’t forget dentist and eye exams. To further save time, haircuts can be worked in around other appointments.
• Post a big calendar in the kitchen for extracurricular activities. Deadlines are often overlooked.
• Learn school start times and bus schedules. Arrange for car pool and pick-up and drop-off destinations and times.
Get back in the swing of things:
• To avoid classroom nodding, begin a regular bedtime routine at least two weeks prior to the first day of school. Success includes rising early and establishing an effective early-morning routine. Don’t forget breakfast (parents, that includes you.)
• Organize closets, dressers and bathrooms during the summer. Everything should have a place. Dressing and grooming will be much easier.
Prepare the night before:
• Pack lunches and backpacks the night before. If your child is struggling with something, don’t forget a little note of encouragement in their lunch box. It will make a sometimes unbearable situation (in your child’s mind) better and bring a smile to their day.
• Review the items in your children’s backpacks to make sure they’re not forgetting something. In the afternoon, retrieve notes from school. This will keep you informed and ensure you and your child will not miss out.
• Tackle clothing selections and bathing at night. The less stress in the mornings, the better.
• Send the kids off in the mornings with a hug and a…I love you! You will both have a better day!
Stay in touch at home and school:
• Designate a time to discuss their day, and really listen.
• Help with homework.
• Attend extracurricular activities as often as possible. It reinforces the child’s choice of activities, and shows your support of what’s important to them.
• Seek out opportunities to help by volunteering.
• Teenagers are very mobile. If possible, provide them with a cell phone (great for emergencies). You'll feel more secure knowing you can contact them. REMIND THEM...NO TEXTING AND DRIVING!
I know this sounds a little overwhelming to “first timers,” but with a few lists and a lot of determination you can make the back to school season an enjoyable experience for you and your family. After a few years of experience, it all becomes old hat. Until then, exercise a little patience. The result will be BIG smiles the first day of school for you and your children.