For the last few months, you’ve been living your best summer life as a family. You’ve slept in late, had a blast at camp, watched all the late-night movies, and enjoyed every second (well, ALMOST every second) of extra time with your kids. But with fall on the horizon, it’s time to transition lazy mornings, sunny pool days, and vacation mode back into a stress-free school day routine that works for everyone.
It’s time to go back to school, and we’ve got everything you need to know about getting your little one ready to learn.
Here are our favorite tips for an easy back-to-school transition:
Ease into a better bedtime.
Good school year mornings begin with a good night’s sleep. To help your kids transition to an earlier bedtime, start moving lights out a little earlier a few weeks before school begins. For example, if kids have been going to bed at 9pm all summer, move bedtime to 8:45 the third week of August, then 8:30 the last week, and to 8pm the week before school begins. Stepping back gradually will help their bodies adjust to a new rhythm.
A little prep goes a long way.
Why wait until sleepy, hurried mornings to make decisions? Before school begins, start practicing choosing the next day’s outfit with your kids and laying it out as part of your bedtime routine. When school begins, prep and pack lunches the night before, as well as double checking that backpacks are packed, homework is accounted for, and shoes, jackets, and weather accessories are by the door and easy to find pre-coffee.
Speaking of coffee, if your coffee maker has a timer function, you may want to get in the habit of prepping it to be ready to go when the alarm goes off. September calls for plenty of caffeine.
Practice your get up and go!
Kids aren’t always great at hurrying, so it never hurts to plan a few late summer morning “back to school” drills. Practice all your steps, from waking up early to quickly getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, grabbing lunches, and heading out the door. Instead of school, the destination can be a park or beach day, or a trip to the zoo – just practice the same urgency you’ll have on those upcoming Monday mornings. Once kids have practiced the routine a few times, they’ll be MUCH less likely to protest, procrastinate, or melt down.
Schedule a little fun!
The shift to back to school can feel overwhelming for even the most flexible kids, so make sure you build some intentional moments of fun and silliness into your schedule. Work a two-minute family dance break in after breakfast, shout your sillies out in the car, and make sure you have some protected free time in the afternoon when kids can choose their own activities or simply take a break. A few fun moments help kids release stress, pent-up energy, or nerves, and help keep the hurry up from getting too intense.
School days are long, exhausting, and over-stimulating. Expect your little ones to hit a few bumps as they adjust. It’s totally normal if they don’t want to tell you much about their day on the ride home (those stories will come out at dinner time once they’ve had a break), or if the first few mornings don’t go smoothly (remember how hard it is to adjust to that new early morning gym routine? Your kids are feeling the same way.) After a few weeks, and probably a few adjustments to help everyone thrive, you and your kids will be experts at your new routine and champions of back to school fun!
Wishing you a stress-free, slightly silly, organized, and restful September!