Going back to school after an exciting and busy summer isn’t just a change in routine for kids—it can also throw parents a curveball. Here are five tips that will help your whole family get back in the groove for the school year as summer ends.
Begin setting progressively earlier bedtimes. While it’s OK for the kids to sometimes be out later in the evenings at places like a friend’s house, when school starts, everyone’s bedtimes should reflect what a normal school-week schedule will be. Parents, get back on a normal schedule and routine as well to stay in step with your kids. This is important for everyone involved!
Healthy, growing kids need annual physicals, eye exams and dental checkups. Schedule them to ensure your kids are going into the school year as healthy as possible. Many school districts require up-to-date immunizations and medical records, so be prepared to show this paperwork during the upcoming registration/enrollment period. Always keep medical records of your children, because these will be important for registering them in other activities during the year.
Have your children go through their closet to try on clothing and test old school supplies. Plan to give away or hand down outgrown clothing and make a list of any new clothes and school supplies that need to be purchased. While your state’s annual tax-free shopping day is a great place to start, always search the clearance racks and overstock/last chance stores to find the lowest prices. Your children will outgrow and wear out their clothing and school supplies quickly, so there’s no need to shell out the money for the newest products.
Family eating habits change during the summer. Grabbing meals on the road during vacation, cooking out with friends and family, ice cream and snow cone runs for dessert—it’s normal to end up around the table as a family less often and eat less healthy during the summer. With school around the corner, start eating as a family again during the evening. Plan a grocery list with everyone’s favorite healthy food for packing lunches and planning evening meals.
The school year is more than just Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It also signals the start-up of extracurricular activities, after school programs, sports, church events and more. As you receive calendars for each of these activities, make sure to mark them down on your family calendar or planner for the upcoming year. Calendar dates help families understand limits, set boundaries, and can prevent parents and kids from feeling burned out by committing to too much. Feelings of fatigue, unhappiness, stress, strained relationships and more from children (especially) and/or their parents are signs there may be too many commitments for the family schedule to handle in a healthy manner.