Here’s 5 practical Back To School ideas that will be help you and your kids get back into the swing of things, now that the summer is over.
Going back to school can be stressful. There’s clothes shopping to be done, school supplies to purchase, bus schedules to review, registration forms to fill out, fees to pay, on top of the million other things you need to get behind you before the first day begins.
Kids also can feel a bit of school anxiety… will I like my teacher…will my teacher like me… will my best friends be in my class… what shall I wear on the first day? After the dust settles down… here are 5 tips to consider for making the school year run more smoothly for you and your kids.
Routine: Believe it or not.. kids like a routine. It takes some of the “unknowns” out of their lives. Can you imagine what it would be like to go into work everyday and not know what’s expected of you? What does the boss want me to do…what are my limitations… what is my job… how much freedom to I have within my job description… what can I do to please my boss?
Without a routine or guidelines… you would feel like you were walking on egg shells all the time. Your children have the same feelings when you don’t have a routine or guidelines. Talk about anxiety! Planning a back to school routine will help both of you get back into the groove of going back to school.
Things to consider are: What time do we get up… when will we eat breakfast…who uses the bathroom first… do we bathe in the mornings, or evening? What is the routine after school… do we work on homework before playtime or after playtime…. when do we practice the piano, what time can we plan on dinner… how much T.V. time do we have… what time do we go to bed?
Include them in the planning of the school routine. Of course your plan needs to be flexible but, for the most part, stick to the schedule.
Get Enough Sleep: More and more studies are being released, shouting the importance of children getting enough rest. Elementary children need at least 10 hours of sleep a night to be able to function at the top of their game the next day.
That mean, if a child gets up at 7:00 in the morning, he needs to be in bed by 9:00 in the evening. So, bed preparations need to start early so the lights are turned off by 9:00.
1. Having a set bed time gives them a target to work toward and trains their bodies towards the routine.
2. Turn off the TV and have a winding down period, which may include a bedtime story and a little bedtime song.
3. Get drinks and bathroom duties handled before the lights are turned out.
Believe it or not, studies show that Jr. high and high school students are routinely getting between 6.5 and 7 hours of sleep a night. They need a minimum of 8 hours or more during the puberty years… which can certainly be a challenge because their lives, like ours, is complex.
1. Homework can rob them of precious hours of sleep if they wait too long in the evening to get started. Waiting until bedtime to begin is not the ideal scene. Also, starting late often does not produce the best school work results because they’re tired and in a hurry.
2. Late phone calls and text messaging can infringe on their sleep time. Perhaps you can agree upon a time when phone calls or texting end for the day. It might encourage going to bed and getting enough sleep so they can be at their best in the morning.
3. They, like younger kids, need a winding down period. Perhaps, this might be the time when you can have a quite discussion about their day. I know of one mom, who would give her older kids a 5 minute back rub before they went to bed. I’ll have to say… that’s more dedication than I’ve got.
Lay Out Clothes and Get Backpacks Ready: Laying clothes out the night before and, having backpacks loaded with books and homework at the door, prevents “morning frantic panic.”
Even your young school kids can select their clothes the night before and have them ready to slip on in the morning. Have them place all of their clothes at the foot of the bed then, you can then check to see if their outfits are complete. “Oops, looks like your missing your socks.” Or, “The weather man said that it’s going to snow tomorrow…perhaps you need to select a different shirt.” They’ll soon get the drift of things and you won’t have to supervise as much. (Oh… and than means coats and gloves, boots etc. are also located the night before.)
Encourage your older kids to know what they’ll be wearing the next morning. No running the washer at five in the morning because they didn’t prepare well.
As soon as homework is completed and their reading is done, pack up the backpacks and place them at the door. If your signature needs to be on any papers, or they need money for a field trip, make sure those things are handled and in the pack before it’s placed at the exit. There’s nothing more frustrating than a kid waving a pen in front of your face as you’re driving them to school.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast: The school, a couple of my grandkids attend, sent a note home announcing tests were being given on a particular day and would parents see that their kids eat a healthy breakfast…. a breakfast of protein and grains and not sugared cereals etc. My thinking is… if that request is good enough on test days, it’s good enough for every day.
A child can be over stimulated by a breakfast of sugared products, therefore they can’t perform at their best… plus being a problem for the teacher. Scramble eggs with the addition of a little cheese can boost the protein in their breakfast. A cup of yogurt will give them protein… however, all yogurts aren’t alike. Watch the labels. So many yogurts are full of sugar and don’t contain beneficial enzymes. Again..read the labels. Use whole grain foods rather than products that have been striped of natural nutrients. (Oh, and watch the labels on peanut butter…some have a lot of sugar included.)
Keep A Sense Of Humor: Keeping a sense of humor goes along way between the the hours of 3:30 and 9:00. A frustrated mom creates frustrated kids. Keep to the schedule as much a possible but don’t take every little departure too seriously. Laugh a lot and keep things as light as possible.
When your kids get over-whelmed or have social problems, let them in on a few of your school challenges and mishaps. When kids feel you can duplicate their experience….it helps for them to know you understand.
I remember ending up at Jr. High with my P.J. bottoms hanging below my skirt. I would keep my bottom on to keep my legs warm until I walked out the door. This particular morning… I just forgot to take them off. I didn’t catch on until half way into my first period class…. talk about being embarrassed. Or, how about the time in elementary school, when I wet my pants in front of the class because a teacher wouldn’t let me be excused. And… that’s nothing compared to my wetting my pants on a date… but that’s a story for another time.
The experiences were tragic at the time… but I laugh about them now. Help your kids get a long range perspective. Keep them laughing.
Go for it… and good luck!
P.S. You can avoid confusion at school by having all of their books and notebooks labeled properly. Take a look at these fun book plates you can put in your kids books… I’m offering them to you for your kids… freeeeee.