Ok, so vacation has finally come to an end and the rat race begins. Back to school is the most hectic time for most families and for those of us who have school kids, getting back into the routine can be absolutely dreadful.
For parents of school aged children, getting back into the “school mode” means having to get up earlier to make breakfast, making the extra effort to coordinate extra-curricular activities, and spending hours on homework after a long day of work.
No doubt, it is difficult to kick into high gear after spending weeks of exercising flex time at work by sleeping in. It’s sometimes hard to fathom planning your days around your children.
To make the transition easier and less stressful, plan well in advance and set realistic expectations for both you and your kids during the school period.
The back to school timeframe will unfold over a period of 3 to 4 week time frame. Often times, your schedule will not solidify until the third or fourth week of September when most schools actually know what activities they will be offering.
To help you implement a stress free back to school transition here are some tips:
Buy your school supplies as early as possible.
Stock usually arrives at stores in the second week of August. Get the best picks by shopping early in the summer. Try to find an all-in-one store such as Walmart where you can conveniently shop for all your back to school supplies and clothes for kids. Shop during non-peak hours to avoid the line-ups.
Go over the first day of school:
Some schools will have a full day for kids on the first day back, while others will offer only a half day session. Ensure that the kids are aware of where they need to go, what they need to bring and who will drop off and pick them up. This helps ease their stress and your frustration.
Review the daily routine:
Set out a daily schedule for the kids. For example, you may want to emphasize that after school there is no TV watching and that all homework must be done and shown to you by 6pm before dinner. This type of discipline will go a long way as long as it is implemented and adhere to daily.
Agree on extra curricular activities:
It’s healthy to have sports, music and other hobbies in the children’s lives. Extra curricular activities help to build self esteem, discipline, skills and talent. Talk to the children about what they would like to do for the year and create a schedule that works for the family. After school activities are often the best types of extra curricular activities as it requires less financial resources and coordination in transportation.
Find ways to coordinate with other parents:
Coordinating your efforts with other parents to transport children to and from activities, such as sporting events, will really alleviate your juggling effort between work and family life.
Ask the children about their concerns:
The children may have certain stresses and concerns about going back to school. As busy parents, sometimes, there is a tendency to overlook our own kids’ anxiety of going back to school. Understanding what their emotional experience is will help us to create a loving environment from which they will thrive.
Remember, the back to school transition doesn’t happen over night. So, be patient and don’t forget that the kids are a big part of the formula in creating a stress free transition in getting back to school.