I remember watching that back-to-school commercial for the big box office supply store as a kid and finding it mean. You know the one I’m talking about, where the parents are careening down the aisles like they are auditioning for Swan Lake. And the music playing is “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Becoming a parent has definitely changed my perspective!
I LOVE Back-to-School Season!!
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my daughter, but by the time August rolls around, I am so happy that school will be starting. Two months of togetherness has me feeling a little starved for peace. But I also love having a plan and a destination in mind, which school definitely provides.
How do you go from the freedom of summertime to the schedule of school? For me, I have found that if I try to just flip a switch and go from free-balling to structure, it does not end well. I’ve adopted a much more gradual approach.
Baby Steps With the Bedtime Routine
Let’s talk about bedtime. I am a big proponent of consistent and appropriate bedtimes. My child is a lunatic when she doesn’t get enough sleep. But in the summertime, well, that rule gets a little lax. Two weeks before school starts, I start pushing for earlier bedtimes. Do I make her go from 9pm to 7:30pm in one night? Ummm, no, I absolutely do not. I value my sanity. It’s a much more gradual thing, 15 minutes earlier each night until we are back on the school bedtime schedule.
If your kiddo has difficulty waking up in the mornings, I would suggest that you start working that into your sleep routine, too. My kid wakes up at the same time every day regardless of when she went to bed, illness or holiday. But if you have a late sleeper, I definitely think getting them used to waking up earlier is a good idea. If you wait until the first day of school to transition to an early wake-up, you are going to have a grumpy kid for sure!
Take Them Shopping!
I know, this sounds like I’m telling you to listen to nails being dragged across a chalkboard. But gathering up school supplies and letting them pick out their pencil case, is a great way to start your kids thinking about heading back to school. Now that schools post their supply lists online way ahead of back to school night, you don’t have to go out and do one massive shop for everything. I save the big stuff for when the state has the back-to-school tax-free shopping holiday (August 3-5), but the little stuff I pick up earlier to start getting her excited to head back to school.
Never Stop Learning
This works for us, but it might not work for everyone. But I’m a big believer in keeping the learning going all summer long. I want my daughter to stay sharp in the skills she’s learned all year. Over the summer, we journal. I pick topics that I know she will want to write about to keep her interested. It’s not really about what she’s writing, but that she’s still keeping up with her letter sounds and sight words. If she becomes fascinated by some random bug she finds, we talk about what it is, what it might eat, and what it’s habitat is (even though I’m usually thinking OMG, don’t touch that!). Keep it fun and engaging and they don’t realize that they are ‘learning’ something!
Kids like structure and routine, but transitions can be hard. Ease them back into the school routine gradually and I bet your life will be happier!