Do you hear that sound? As if someone turned on the world’s largest vacuum cleaner, and sucked all of the air right out of the room? That’s the sound of thousands of parents across the country, gasping in disbelief, as the first Target or Wal-Mart commercial comes on TV touting their ‘Back-to-School’ sales.
Summer is almost over – no need to panic! A little planning ahead goes a long way. Being prepared for the school year means more than just carpool schedules and school supplies. It’s about getting back to a routine that probably (and justifiably) went a little slack over the summer. By following these few simple steps, you can get rid yourself of your Summertime hangover, and get your family back on track to succeed come Fall.
Bring Back Bedtimes – The right amount of sleep is arguably the most important factor in your child’s scholastic success; studies show that school-age kids need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours a night. Chances are, the summer season brought with it a certain leniency toward bedtime, so turn off the TV, and put the Pokémon search on hold until the weekend. Get back on a steady schedule and keep it. Your reward for restoring a little law and order? A few extras Z’s yourself!
Prep Your Routine – If there’s one absolute certainty in family life, it’s that no day will ever go 100% according to plan. So always have a contingency. Plan packed lunches for the entire week, and avoid that mad morning scramble to stuff their lunchbox. Also, buy ingredients at the store for your easy, go-to recipes. That way, when school activities run long or evening homework proves tougher than expected, you can scrap the elaborate dinner plan and still make sure everyone is well fed.
Also, you can steal back a few minutes of sleep (and the fragile pieces of your sanity) in the morning by taking extra steps the night before. Set your breakfast table while clearing the dinner dishes. Lay out tomorrow’s clothes tonight, and make sure all books, homework assignments, and signed permission slips are tucked away in the right backpack.
Healthy Body & Mind – Making sure that your child is fully immunized at the proper age is not only important for keeping your own family healthy, it prevents outbreaks occurring at their school. To be certain your child is up to date, have them immunized after their 4th and 11th birthdays. Click the link on each number for a list of the specific shots necessary at that age.
Don’t forget to ensure your child’s mental health going into the school year as well. Setting a sleep schedule was a good start, but many children experience nervousness and stress as a result of new schools, new teachers, or new friends. It’s important to communicate with your kids about their feelings – consider introducing them to their new teachers and faculty ahead of time, to ease them in gently to their new environment.
You’ve got this! With a little forward thinking, you and your family will settle into a successful routine in no time.