For most Houstonians, the start of the school year is right around the corner. Back to school means early wake up times, rushed mornings, and afternoons filled with homework and dishes. With just a few weeks of summer left, you may already be thinking of how to make this transition smoother for you and the kids.
Whether you’re re-establishing old routines or want to create brand new ones, check out my best tips for beating the back- to- school blues ::
Bedtime Routines Rule
No one wants to give up their starry summer nights but doing this now will save you headaches once the school year race takes off. Help your child fall asleep easier using age- old sleepy-time techniques. Even school aged children benefit from bath time and a story. Use lavender soaps or serve them chamomile tea before bed to help them relax. Be sure to switch off the electronics at least an hour before bed to help those natural sleep hormones flow.
If they’ve been going to bed later than usual, ease into a bedtime routine by having the kids go to bed just half an hour earlier. Once they are falling asleep easily at that time, raise the bedtime another half hour. It should only take a week or two to get back in the habit. This is also the perfect time to create brand new bedtime traditions if the old ones aren’t working.
Add in Academics
If you don’t already have a daily hour of reading, now is the perfect time to start. Help the kids get back into the academic mindset with tons of free sites offering everything from handwriting practice to logic problems. Not to mention, our wonderful local libraries provide educational opportunities all around town!
Have a “mock” school day. This one may be different for parents who work outside of the home but the whole purpose is to get used to waking up again early, getting out the door quickly, then spending time in the afternoons doing their “homework”. However you can achieve this works- even if you pretend to homeschool for the day. Don’t forget to prepare for the next morning just like you would during the school year.
Set up a school station! Make it easier to get out the door in the morning by having a specific area for backpacks, lunchboxes, and homework. My son is notorious for losing his homework. I’ve found it wedged in between his bed and the wall and crumpled in between the couch cushions. My secret to ending the fiasco was to have a specific place for him to do his homework every day, a place to “turn it in”, and a routine for checking it.
Now is also a great time to start having family meetings. A weekly family round- table is a great way for everyone to talk about their pits and peaks of the week and talk about anything they’re worried about.
Gather everyone in the living room, distraction- free. Start by asking the kids what they are most looking forward to about the school year- and what they’re concerned about. Then, dive into your own ideas. You don’t have to be lecture-y about it, you can be funny, serious, or both! You’re just providing a safe space to talk about family business.