Though some schools have already started, we don’t go back until the first week of September here in New York. Because of that, I wanted to provide some tips for establishing a back to school routine for kids. These tips will hopefully help you and your children with getting back into the mindset of back to school time.
Let’s face it, during the summer months children are usually not on a particular schedule. They’ve gotten in the habit of going to bed and getting up later. As back-to-school time nears, however, it’s important to get children back on a school schedule.
6 Tips for Establishing a Back to School Routine
Make a list – Make one list per child of everything he or she will need for their first day of school such as lunch boxes, gym clothes, and school supplies. Your Kindergartener will have different needs than your sixth grader so it helps to plan ahead. Tick things off your list as you purchase or get them ready.
Establish a Bedtime Routine – A few days before school starts try to start establishing a bed time routine. If your kids already have one that’s great but if you’ve been a little relaxed over the summer break it’s probably best to slowly get them back into the routine. Talk about the importance of getting enough sleep so that they can feel good at school and try to stick to a schedule.
Don’t wait too long to get them back in the habit of going to bed for school. In fact, it would be helpful if they started going to bed a little bit earlier each night, over a couple of weeks, until they reach their normal “school night” bedtime.
Children will rebel against having to go to bed so early if they’ve stayed up late all summer.
Need some help with your younger kids? Check out my bedtime routine chart and cards.
Work on The Morning Routine- While you’re working on re-establishing a normal bedtime, you probably want to also get them up a little earlier each morning. This will help them acclimatize to the regular school schedule of going to bed a particular time and then having to get up in order to get ready for school. If you haven’t already done so, why not purchase an alarm clock and teach your child how to use it.
Instead of goofing off when they first wake up, have your children start getting ready as if they were going to school, also within that same re-training period. Before they go to bed each night, have them set out their clothes for the next day so everything’s ready for them when they rise.
Get a Calendar – Get a good size calendar and put it up in a prominent place in your kitchen, write down any important dates such as teacher parent meetings or deadlines for taking certain things in to school. During the first days especially you’ll be getting lots of notes and reminders so it’s good to have a system in place before school starts.
Schedule Tasks – Family life doesn’t always go to plan but try to set a flexible schedule for certain tasks such as homework times. Plan ahead so that you can fit in homework and dinner times around the kid’s extracurricular activities without having to rush too much. Kids get tired and if they’re rushing from one place to the other, they will be less than agreeable when they then need to sit down and do their homework.
By setting a flexible schedule and even meal planning you can avoid a lot of unnecessary disagreements.
Plan Ahead – Preparing things the night before will alleviate a lot of morning stress. Leave your kids clothes ready for the next day, pre-pack their lunches, make sure their school bags are packed. Come morning, both you and the kids will be a lot more relaxed if you don’t have to rush.
If you can, visit your child’s school before the first day. Learn where their class, the restrooms, the lunchroom, and the library are. These will be the areas your child will use most during the day. Knowing where these rooms are will help them be more comfortable when school starts.
What do you do if your child has to change classes during the day? Visit each classroom with your child, helping them find the quickest route between classes and other areas they’ll use. Your child will be a pro at maneuvering the halls in no time.
Will your child ride a bus, carpool with other children in the neighborhood, or will you take them to school each day? Knowing how they will get to and from school is important and will give them continuity to their day.
This is a great time to help them utilize or work on their time management skills.
By thinking ahead a little bit you can ensure that back to school is a pleasant and enjoyable time for the whole family.