The Back to School season is upon us! In just a couple of weeks you and your children will be back to the School year routines and schedules full of drop offs and pick-ups, carpooling arrangements, after school activities, homework, and so much more. This time of year can certainly feel overwhelming for many families. After a fun filled Summer it can be tough getting your children and yourselves adjusted to school schedules. In order to avoid last minute overwhelm, it is a great idea to start making some changes in your daily routines now. By easing into the change a couple of weeks ahead of time your family can have a much easier time making this seasonal transition. For many, Summertime means staying up later and sleeping in a little bit longer. It is a wonderful time of year for slowing down and enjoying each moment. It can be shocking to go from this more laid-back routine to getting your kids into bed on time, and up and out the door for school. If possible, use the last week or two of Summer break to start making these adjustments. Ease your children into an earlier bedtime routine now so that they will be much more adjusted for the first day of school. The last thing you want is your kids not being able to sleep the night before the first day of school simply because their bodies are in a much different sleep pattern. During this time, it is a good idea to also start adjusting their morning wake up times to prevent the shock of a sudden change when it is time for school. Certainly make some time to enjoy these last days of Summer break by getting out during the day and enjoying activities together! The key is to start making adjustments to your evening and morning routine. This will ensure that you have well rested children (and parents!) a couple weeks from now.
If you have only school aged children and you work full time, this is a good time to solidify your after-school care. Perhaps you want to hire a part time nanny for after school hours, you will want to set up interviews now so that you have someone hired on time. If your children will be staying at an aftercare program at their school be sure that you have enrolled them. If family members or other classmates’ parents will be helping out with the afterschool pick-ups use these next couple of weeks to speak with them and create a plan. Be sure that you have updated your children’s school with a list of approved names for people who can pick up your children, as well as for some schools listing the vehicles. Make sure that your caregivers have any necessary carpool signs or scanning stickers, and house keys if needed. Update your children’s emergency contact list for the school office. Be sure to mark your calendar with any orientations or meet the teacher dates that you will need to attend.
If you have younger children that will remain at home with your nanny as the school year starts, take this time to discuss who will be doing the school pick-ups and drops offs for your children that attend school. Sit down together and talk through school year schedules. It is a great idea to keep a family calendar for you and your nanny to be able to track school activities, holidays, etc.
One of the biggest things about the back to school season is shopping for supplies! Find out from your children’s school what supplies will need to be purchased by you, and what supplies will be provided. Having a detailed list will make shopping run much more smoothly. Follow any dress code or school uniform rules when clothes shopping for your kids. When in doubt ask questions! Some schools have restrictions on what is acceptable to pack for lunch due to allergies. It is a good idea to find out your schools’ policy on this so that you can plan your grocery shopping for lunch items accordingly. If your children will be partaking in school lunches, take the time now to set any details in place that your school requires. Keep in mind that healthy balanced diets will help your children feel and do their best at school. Save the occasional sugary treats or desserts for the weekends or special occasions if possible.
By following this plan of action now, both you and your children will be set up for success without the last-minute stress when school officially starts! Remember that children thrive on routine. Easing them into a new routine will help them adjust, be well rested, and ready when school starts. While your to do list may seem long, don’t forget to talk to your children about their feelings. Going into middle school or high school can be a huge adjustment, and they may be feeling this. Make it safe for them to share their thoughts with you, ask questions, and just be able to talk openly.
We wish your family much success as you head into the new school year!
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro