Creating a Cheerful Back to School Mindset
Summer is ending and school for many has already begun. Parents are in a whirlwind purchasing school supplies buying clothes for school, attending meetings, filling out paperwork, shuttling kids to school and community activities, and trying to establish and manage routines. I should know. I’m one of them!
Though I love summer and will miss the long days, one of the things I do look forward to when school returns are structure and routine. I like a schedule, and so do my kids.
Here are 10 tips that can help families plan ahead and get organized for the school year.
- Prepare kids to return to their “school time” bedtime about 1-2 weeks before school begins. You can do this gradually by setting back bedtime by 30 minutes a night until you reach the desired bedtime. (Most kids need 9-11 hours of sleep a night.)
- At home, create and review house rules. (We use “The three B’s,” Be respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe.)
- Establish routines (checklists, songs) and distraction-free environments for hygiene, getting dressed, homework, breaks, chores, after school or evening activities, and sleep. Revisit timers/alarms for starting/completing tasks or remembering medications. Designate a “launch spot” for bookbags, lunch boxes, and school materials.
- Find ways to keep your child active during the school year (music lessons, social groups, clubs, or sports). Activities build your child’s confidence, helps with time management skills, and academic achievement. (Be aware though that too much of a good thing, including screens, can increase poor behavior in children. Kids still need downtime and 1:1 time with parents.)
- Create a family calendar to see everyone’s activities. Meet weekly to review it. Incorporate rewards, special time, and family time for honoring commitments and respecting house rules.
- Encourage your child to use a planner, organizer, and the school’s homework tools to help with remembering assignments. Discuss expectations for school ahead of time. Post a school lunch calendar if desired and discuss days in which your child will eat at school.
- Have a positive attitude about school and model that for your child.
- Visit the school ahead of time. For kids with 504 plans or IEP’s, consider scheduling a meeting with your child’s teacher, team, or counselor prior to the start of school.
- For younger kids, review your child’s HW daily and check the agenda for any missed assignments. For older kids, use your school system’s tools to monitor grades and assignment completion each week. Communicate regularly with teachers.
- Last…do something fun! Take a breath, go to a museum, park, or any place as a family to unwind and de-stress.
For other tips on managing change, visit my blog#1- Embracing Change with Confidence. And if the school year is still overwhelming and you or your child need some assistance, contact me at SHCS!