GETTING READY FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR TO START...
The beginning of the school year is stressful for kids and parents, so expect this and prepare for it. Talk with your kids about what to expect at school. If they will be attending a new school, see if you can take them for a tour before the first day. Remember that our kids pick up on our feelings, including anxiety, so don’t forget to prepare yourself for the beginning of the school year. Have a positive attitude about school starting and talk with your kids about the fun, new experiences they will be experiencing.
Go shopping for school supplies with your kids and let them pick out their own backpack, school organizer, etc. Figure out how you want to manage all of the paperwork that comes with school; for example, where you want your kids to put paperwork, forms, and homework that you need to review? Now is the time to decide how you want to keep track of events, activities, important dates, etc. and get whatever supplies you’ll need so you can be organized from the beginning.
Get back into a healthy routine: sleep, diet, schedule, exercise
Many families have a relaxed attitude during the summer months about foods, bedtimes, etc. It will help everyone if you start easing back into your regular routines a week or so before the school year starts. Move your kids’ bedtime 10 minutes earlier every night until you're back at your typical bedtime by the time school starts again. At the same time, begin waking your kids up 10 minutes earlier every day until you are at the time they’ll need to get up on school days. Now is the time to start decreasing the unhealthy foods your family has enjoyed during the summer months and increase healthier foods. Figure out easy and healthy meals and snacks for yourself and your kids! And don’t forget exercise. Being active helps burn off excess energy while releasing feel-good hormones, both of which will help set you and your kids up for happier days.
Plan for regular fun
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun! Be sure to set aside time to have fun with your kids on a regular basis, both as a family and in one-on-one situations. And don’t think these fun times have to be big or elaborate --- just spending time together reading a book, playing a board game, going for a walk, etc. helps strengthen family relationships and creates memories.
Make childcare arrangements
You probably already have your usual childcare arrangements in place for your kids, but now is the time to think about what you’ll do for those emergency situations that inevitably pop up. Who can pick up your kids from school if they are sick and you are stuck at work? Who can watch your kids if they are sick and you can’t stay home with them? Making these alternate plans before they are needed will make your life easier when they are needed.
Join them when it gets tough
We will encounter challenging moments with our kids when it's the first day back to school. It helps if we can expect this and not perfection from our kids. When they don't want to wake up, get dressed, or when they move slowly, they might respond if we join them. This is a great way to help get things moving without doing things FOR them. This can mean walking to the bathroom with them to help the transition out of bed, brushing your teeth together, etc.