Back to School: Creating a Smooth Transition

I don’t know about you, but back-to-school time always feels like I’m hitting the refresh button on my year. For some, January 1st is a day full of resolutions, goals, and the excitement of achieving those things you set out to. You’ve resolved to be committed to something and to do just a little bit better.

For me, all those feelings come rushing at me, but it’s always around back-to-school time. And I haven’t even been in school in years! I still always get that same little pit in my stomach I used to get when I was about to walk into a brand new classroom, and no amount of hot pink mechanical pencils that I insisted on buying would make that feeling go away. 
Now that I have two kids starting school soon, I have started to have that nervous-y but excited pit return. Even though classes haven’t started yet, our family is prepping for that first big day (and week!) Here are some ways that we are getting our kids back in the routine to go back to school.
  1. Talk about what’s coming up. Our two children are still pre-school age, so any change at all can really shake things up for them. To help the kids feel prepared for going back to school, we try to talk to the kids about how school will start soon. We discuss what they may do in class each day, how long the will be away from home, and any other school-related thing that comes to mind. When kids feel mentally prepared for what to expect, I think it really helps with those first day of school jitters.
  2. Start sticking to a reasonable bed time hour. What this means for our family is to watch the clock, and start winding down earlier than normal. During those evenings when the sun still wants to creep into their rooms and fool them that it’s still day time, a Wink Naturals tablet, black out curtains and a sound machine have totally saved the day. Don’t wait till the night before school to start enforcing a strict bedtime. I don’t know about you…but whenever we have a big day planned, the kids decide to have a lousy sleep the night before. Another reason why we try to help their little bodies get used to going to bed on time is that from my experience, kids just do so much better when they are well-rested. My daughter, who tends to get a bit anxious whenever she's even slightly uncomfortable, would always come home from school grumpy when she hadn’t gotten a good sleep the night before. 
  3. Get back to eating on time. Summer is such a fun time, where routines and schedules can be pretty loose. While this can be one of the best things about the season, it does make things a little tougher when school time comes around. I know there have been some mornings where the kids haven’t eaten a real lunch till 3PM, and by then I already need to start thinking about dinner. And please don’t even ask me what they’ve been eating the rest of the day! (I did finally put my foot down on chips for breakfast, though!) So, one way to get your kids in the routine to go back to school is to make sure they’re eating breakfast and lunch around the same time they would once they’re back in school. Know how I said my kids do so much better when they’re well-rested? They also do so much better when their stomachs aren’t hungry. And this mama is a lot happier, too, when I’m not being asked for snacks a hundred times an hour. 
  4. The last thing we do is actually something the kids have started to do on their own.  While I have no problem being in my robe till noon in the summer, my older two kids like getting dressed and ready for the day soon after they wake up. Like, within minutes of opening their eyes. (We’ve been woken up many times this summer by our kids coming into our room asking what shoes match their outfits that they’re ALREADY wearing.) Most of the times I roll over and mumble something like, “It’s not even seven. Go back to bed.” But, what they’re doing is a perfect way to get ready to go back to school. That early-morning rush is a magic time (and I don’t mean unicorn and rainbows type of magic.) I mean, that somehow when you may have an hour to get ready, it actually feels like you have twenty-nine seconds to get dressed, eat breakfast, and maybe get an actual conversation in there. And don’t even get me started on trying to find matching socks. I gave up on matching socks years ago. 
Good luck to all you parents prepping your kids for the back-to-school season! What are some things you do to help your kids back into their school routines?

-Karim Jones

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