Summer break is a season of memory making. From family vacations and summer camp adventures to sleeping in and staying up late, it’s nothing short of magical. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. For all the excitement students have counted down to the dog days of summer, they may have an equal amount of dread for the back-to-school brush.
The good news is that routines develop quickly. The bad news is that routines develop quickly. After two months of going to bed, waking up whenever they want, and having little to no responsibility, a school schedule is but the distant of memories.
Looking to simplify and solidify your kiddo’s routine to get them back in the swing of things? Here’s how to do it well.
1. Back up bedtime, gradually. Of course, you and your little learner want summer vacation to last as long as possible. But waiting until the night before school starts to begin your new sleep schedule is asking for trouble. About two weeks prior to the first day, back up bedtime by about 10-15 minutes each night. This will help extend the feel of summer break and gradually transform sleepy students into early birds.
2. Plan out lunches two weeks in advance. Look at the school lunch menu for a week or two at a time then decide which meals the school will make and which will be made at home. Pizza day might always be a big hit, while tuna casserole may send them packing, literally. Put a calendar on the fridge and mark which days they’ll be taking a sack lunch to school. Get less perishable foods like sandwich fixings and make all your meals for the week the Sunday before.
3. Back-to-school shop for outfits that pair easily. Back-to-school shopping is one of the most fun parts of going back to class. It allows kids to exercise their creativity and broadcast their personal style to new classmates. When browsing, encourage them to pick roughly 10 items that pair perfectly without any additional thought. Keep them in a designated drawer or section of the closet to make getting dressed in the morning a cinch.
4. Get organized the night before. The only scrambling you want in the morning is the eggs in your frying pan. The more tasks you can eliminate the morning of, the better off everyone will be. Making sure their backpacks, homework, sweater, shoes, and supplies are all together in a designated spot will prevent unnecessary hiccups that could lead to a missed bus.
5. Schedule set bath times. During summer, swimming is a totally acceptable substitute for bathing. Once school’s in session, hygiene can no longer take a backseat. (No one wants to be the smelly kid.) If you have more than one person sharing a bathroom, pre-planning bath time is a great way to preemptively stop disagreements over clashing schedules. It also forces some accountability so no one is tempted to skip a shower.
6. Set recurring alarms and reminders on their phone. Even if you’re in the habit of waking your child up for school, might as well use all the technology that’s available to help get them up and out the door. The more time they spend on their phones, the more likely they are to respond to reminders about upcoming assignment deadlines or advanced backpacking. You can even use the sleep feature to set a bedtime reminder!
School is stressful. But with these steps, your back-to-school routine doesn’t have to be.