You made it through all the back-to-school purchases and first day of school jitters. Both you and the kids survived the first day, but unfortunately the back-to-school stress and planning doesn’t stop there.
It can take a while to get into a structured routine after long, lazy summer days. And with fall approaching, sports, dance classes and a myriad of other activities are just around the corner. Below are five tips to help you survive the first weeks of the new school year and settle into a routine that works for your family.
1. Maintain the same sleep schedule on the weekends.
While it may have been nice to let the kids stay up late and sleep in during the summer months, don’t give in to the temptation to fall back into those habits on the weekend. When children go to bed and get up at or near the same time every day, they are better rested overall. This will make Monday morning easier for the whole family.
2. Live your values.
Not long after your child starts school, it’s pretty inevitable that you are going to hear “but everybody else has…” Remember your value base for your decisions about what you will and won’t buy. Be aware of social pressures, but also know that your child doesn’t need what everyone else has to fit in at school.
3. Create your village.
Every mom has had one of those days where something comes up at work, or you have one child sick at home and another that needs to get somewhere and you just can’t be everywhere at once. The “village” is made up of people whom your children know and you trust. They are a social safety network around your family, and you serve in the same role to their family. Children are a great avenue into meeting other people, so use these first few weeks of school to meet the families of your child’s new friends. You may find great friends for yourself, too.
4. Younger siblings also need to adjust.
Parents are typically aware of the jealousy that occurs when an older sibling starts school and is getting new clothes and school materials, but feelings can run much deeper than that. Sometimes a younger sibling has never known a life without the older sibling in it for most hours of the day. This can lead to a small grief process for the younger sibling. To make this transition a little smoother, help your younger child plan for when his sibling will return and what you and he will be doing while the older sibling is in school.
5. Anticipate last minute needs.
There are always going to be items that you didn’t think of, as well as things your child needs that you couldn’t have known ahead of time. This is normal, but knowing that events are going to arise that you can’t control will allow you to keep perspective when you meet these surprises.
While this time of year can be a little stressful, it can also be a lot of fun! Being prepared and having reasonable expectations will help you and your children easily transition into the school year.