It is that time of year again. Though we still have a few weeks of summer break left, the idea of returning to school has crept into the back of our minds. Along with it, stress may begin to build up. Homework battles. Crazy extra curricular schedules. New routines. Ugh! I’ve put together a list of 5 things that we can all do in order to help us stop stressin’ these last few weeks of summer away.
5 Ways to Prepare for the Upcoming School Year
1. Begin Your Back-to-School Routine EARLY!
Once you and your family have come up with a routine (bed times, wake times, etc) start it before school starts. I’d say even a week or more in advance. Our bodies require some time to get used to a new schedule and we don’t need sluggish children not used to waking up early walking to the bus stop. And we definitely don’t want little bodies that are too wired to go to sleep at a decent hour on a school night. Figure out your routine and start it early!
2. Set Goals as a Family
This is a biggie to try to prevent any mishaps that may have happened last year. Whether it is studying more, being sure to complete homework, or reading at night, sit down and set some goals that can be met throughout the school year. Having this positive goal(s) is a way to make sure the family is on the same page with what is expected during the school year, and what needs to take priority. Don’t just set goals for your children. Come up with goals for you and your spouse during this “family planning session” as well. It will help your children to see that setting goals is important, and that regardless of age, we can always better ourselves. Put a visual up of these goals somewhere so that they an be revisited throughout the year.
3. Schedule out a Specific Time for Homework
Piggybacking off the last suggestion, talk with your family about a time when homework should be completed. I know children are bogged down with a ton of extra curricular activities after school, but homework needs to be completed. The time may be different for each family and/or child. Some may work better right off the bus. Others may need a break and a snack first. Some may work better after their sports practice, before bed. Whenever works best for your family, just be sure to designate that time in everyone’s schedules, and again, be sure that expectations are known for this time.
4. Go to Your Child’s School’s Open House
Most schools provide a time right before the school year begins where they invite parents and students in to meet the teachers. I strongly encourage you to do this. A new school year can be a little stressful for students because of the “unknown”. Going to your school’s open house can help to reduce some of this stress. Children will be able to meet their teachers, see who else is in their classes, and get a quick peek at the classroom layout and where things are. A lot of good information for us parents can also be picked up at these events. Go! It’ll take a few minutes, but is totally worth it.
5. Be Consistent
This is probably the most important suggestion. Children thrive off consistency. If they know what is expected of them and they know what will happen if they do/ don’t follow through, they are able to function so much better than a child who doesn’t know what is coming at them and when. Be consistent. Once you’ve set up your goals, your scheduled homework time, your routine, and expectations, stick with it. Don’t drop the ball mid-fall. Stick to what you started.
There ya have it. My 5 solutions to a better start to a new school year!