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Back to school-the time when I’m caught between “say it ain’t so!” and “are we there yet??”. Summer is great because of the sleeping in, relaxing the schedule, and eating all day long. That’s also the reason it sucks, if I’m being honest. As we near the end of our summer and the inevitable start of school, it’s time to think about helping our kids get back into the swing of things. Here are a few tips for getting your kids ready to return to school and a daily routine.
One of the most important things I focus on for back to school is getting bedtime on track. If they aren’t getting a solid amount of sleep at night, my kids really struggle with behavior in the first weeks while they get used to school. It’s so much better for everyone if we start early. About two weeks before school starts, I put the kids to bed 15 minutes earlier at night. I do a solid bedtime routine, and hang around to make sure they relax and stay in bed. Then I get them up 15 minutes earlier the next morning. I stick to that time for the next couple of nights, and then move bedtime and wake time up another 15 minutes. I continue this until we reach the desired bed and wake time. So it looks like this for us:
August 1-Bedtime @ 8:15, Waketime @7:15
August 3-Bedtime@ 8:00, Wake time@7:00
August 4-5 same as above
August 6-Bedtime @7:45, waketime @6:45
August 7-8-same as above
August 9-Bedtime@7:30, Waketime@6:30
August 10-11-same as above
August 12-Bedtime@7:15, Wake time@6:15 (This is our school schedule)
August 13-15-same as above
August 16-First day of school
This schedule is for a first grader and two preschoolers, and school starts at 7:40 for us. We need about 11 hours of sleep per night. Of course, you will want to tweak this for the age of your child and the hours that work for you, but this is the general idea.
If your kids are anything like mine, they’ve spent the whole summer eating snacks from dawn until dusk. No meal is ever finished prior to leaving the table and usually they eat like half and then come back later to graze. Alas, school approach-eth, and these children will have to sit like ladies and gentlemen at a table and eat their lunch in 20 minutes. Snacking all day will not be an option. So a few weeks before school starts, I like to get my kids back into the swing of staying at the table and eating a full meal. In fact, as dorky as it is, I pack their lunch for a week or so before and we eat lunch from the box like it’s school. Plus, if I’m being honest, I have to work myself back into the routine of making lunches and shopping for stuff to make lunches. I hate packing lunches, but I can usually cheer myself up by reminding myself that the packed lunch is going to be eaten someplace else, which means I don’t have to clean it up and I’ll be enjoying my lunch alone at the time they eat it. I love my kids, but I also love chewing my food.
If I’m being honest, I’m not great at structuring my day as a stay at home mom. My kids going to school is a big part of our routine. I NEED those periods of alone time, however short, to recharge and be a better mom. So during the summer, I tend to turn to TV and iPad to get these quiet times. However, as school approaches, my kids need to get used to spending less of their day on electronics and more of their day focusing on brain building activities. During the last couple weeks of summer, I do my best to save iPad and TV times for mornings or evenings, and spend more time reading and in free play. Also, I have some workbooks I get out and we have a fun time with stickers and colored pencils filling out worksheets on math, reading, etc. This makes kind of a little refresher for getting back to a day of work at school.
What are your best tips for getting ready for back to school? Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Facebook and let’s chat!