Do you remember that Andy Williams’ holiday song It’s the most wonderful time of the year? Well, during the back to school time of year, I like to switch up the words a bit and re-title it to It’s the most stressful time of the year!
Getting my kids ready to head back to school after the long, longdid I mention it was long?summer break is one of the most challenging tasks I confront each year. You would think it would get easier with each passing year, but my kids like to switch it up each year as they continue to develop their own set of preferences and opinions. The nerve of them growing up, hmmf!
So, while I can’t use the clapper and make it all go away, I can offer up some suggestions that have helped make this task easier for my family as we begin, yet again, to navigate another back to school season.
1. Get your space organized
Create a learning space that works for you and your family. Ideally if you have the space, this should be a permanent area that is quiet, promotes learning, and is free of unnecessary distractions.
Here are some other suggestions to help you get organized:
- Create a family calendar
- Visit our Pinterest: Get Organized board
- Smartphone Apps: Here’s a video highlighting some smartphone apps to help you get organized.
2. Discuss household rules before the first day
Setting expectations and rules of the road as you embark on the school year can really go a long way to avoid dreaded arguments and let downs. Think about creating rules about TV watching, video game playing, computer time, and chores.
- Establish the bedtime and mealtime routines.
- How much TV can your kids watch and when?
- What are the rules about video games?
- What are your thoughts about non-school time computer usage?
- Create chore charts for each family member.
3. Be flexible
Mind and body fatigue will set in for both you and your kid. Be mindful of this and prepare to take breaks. It’s OK to have your student close their books for a bit and get up and stretch. This is a great time to get them moving!
Here are some resources to help you come up with fitness ideas to use during your breaks:
- Let’s Move: Ideas about raising a healthier generation of kids
- CrossFit Kids: Fitness program designed for the specific needs of kids utilizing functional movements like pushing, pulling, running, throwing, climbing, lifting, and jumping.
4. Practice patience
Whether your child is attending online school or a brick and mortar, things don’t always go as planned, especially at the beginning of the school year.
School registration and processing takes timesomewhere between one to two weeks during the non-peak season. So this time of year, when schools are inundated with last-minute enrollments, interviewing and hiring teachers and preparing for the school year, there will be delays. Also, because online schools are a fairly new option, the steps involved in processing enrollment documents include many processes outside of our control.
Parents don’t mess around when it comes to their kids and their education. I know this because I am a parent myself. And I know that my sharing this information with you doesn’t help you get the solution you want. But by sharing it, I hope to level set some expectations and alleviate some of the stress that goes along with this entire process.
Sometimes stepping back and taking a very deep breath can really help!
5. Ask for Help
It’s a new year, new routine, new experience. Whatever your situation, you aren’t the first parent to feel overwhelmed, confused, stressed and completely lost. No one is expected to know it all right out of the gate. It takes practice and more importantly help and support.
If your child is struggling and you aren’t able to help them yourself, ask for help. If you are struggling, as your child’s learning coach, ask for help.
6. Make it Memorable
Make sure to take pictures of your kids as they begin their first day. And most importantly, plan having fun each and every day!