10 Tips on Surviving the Back to School Season

Surviving the Back-to-School Season

1.       Create a morning routine and stick to it.
Routine is so important for kids and for adults. The morning sets the tone for your whole day. Wake up 10-15 minutes before the kids to get in a little quiet time for yourself to get ready. Make sure you and the kids have breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day. Morning routines will be different based on a family’s needs, and Healthychildren.org says that “Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.” Find what works for your family and stick with it!

2.      Prep the night before.
To help alleviate morning chaos, set out clothes, backpacks and shoes the night before. Find a designated area for the kids to put everything so they aren’t scrambling in the morning. There’s nothing like spending 15 minutes looking for a specific shoe when you are trying to start your day. Growing up, my siblings and I each had our own small colored laundry basket where we would put everything we would need the next morning. We had a small laminated paper hung on the wall that listed out everything we would need for the following day. In addition, adults of the household can also set up a designated spot for keys, purses, wallets, planners, etc..

3.      Don’t over schedule extracurricular activities.
There are so many activities for kids these days, and it can be tempting to get them involved in everything. Kids also need some downtime though. Over scheduling can lead to overwhelmed kids and anxious parents. When enrolling your child into extracurricular activities and programs, make sure it is something the child is really interested in, and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of important family time. Alvin Rosenfeld, author of “The Over-Scheduled Child” says that “If you’re interested, getting taught to play the saxophone, or ice hockey, or gymnastics is terrific. Just don’t fill all your time with it. An increase in stress increases performance until you reach a tipping point- then there is a dramatic and total crash.” https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/whats-conflicted-parent-scheduling-childs-summer Help your kids avoid this crash by making sure to have downtime each evening, and make sure to schedule family time with the whole family.

4.       Meal plan in advance.
To avoid stress for parents during the week, create a weekly mean plan and do your grocery shopping in advance for everything you will need. I always try to prep as much as I can on Sunday afternoons to save some time during the weeknights. Planning out your meals can help you save money and stress less during the week.
5.      Get a planner.
I am a paper person. I do best when I can write things down and see them, and color code them. I would be lost without my paper planner. I like to see my whole week laid out in front of me, so I can best plan my time. In addition, we also have a whiteboard family calendar hung up so we can all see what everyone has going on. It helps keep us all on the same page.

6.      Stick to a bedtime routine.
Morning routines aren’t the only important routine of the day. A bedtime routine is just as important. Kids need more sleep than adults, and the amount they need may be a little shocking. School aged children (6-13 years) need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. See the link below for the recommended amount of sleep by age group. A good rule to stick by is if you can't at least get the minimum recommended amount, you are probably over scheduling your days. 
Setting up a bedtime routine is key to helping your child wind down and fall asleep quickly. A routine will help train their body into recognizing that it is time to sleep and can help them fall asleep quickly. Some good ways to wind down are to do a quick tidy up of their room, take a bath/shower, brush their teeth, get in some cozy pajamas, and then to read a story with them, or let them read to themselves for 20-30 minutes if they are older.

7.      Let the kids get involved.
It can be tempting to try to be a super parent and take care of everything, but it’s important to let your kids get involved and help. Let them help with folding the laundry even if they can’t figure out how to fold the towels the way you like. Give them small age-appropriate chores to help out around the house, and be sure to reward them and let them know when they have done a good job.

8.      Prep Lunches.
Prepping lunches the night before can save so much time during your morning routine. And you can get the kids to help out. Keep lunches simple and healthy, and let your kids have a say in what they would like week to week. Another option is school lunches if you find that you don’t have the time to prep lunches every day.

9.      Communication.
Make sure your family communicates their needs and that you are listening to each other. Communication between parents is key to making the school year go smoothly and to make sure that no one gets overwhelmed or reaches a breaking point. Make sure to talk to your kids to really understand what they are feeling and what’s going on at school. Pay attention to their behaviors and changes, and it’s ok to let them know how you’re feeling too. If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed it’s ok to say “Mom needs a little break,” and to relax on your own even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

10.   Always have a backup plan.

Life is always a little crazy and will not always go as planned. Always make sure to have a backup plan in mind. Our back up plan for mornings gone wrong is granola bars for the go if we are running behind. And if it was a particularly awful day at work, and I don’t feel like cooking what was on the meal plan, we budget extra money for going out to eat. Bad days happen to the best of us. Just make the best of it, and don’t let it get you down. 


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