Back to School, Back to Routine
After spending the summer lounging by the pool, you’re starting to dread getting back in that drop-off line at school. That’s right; it’s time to start thinking about back to school. Here are some ideas to make the back to school transition a little less bumpy.
Use Mindfulness To Calm Those Back to School Jitters
Your kids probably realized that school is about to begin when that trip to get some ice cream turned into an all-day shopping trip for new school shoes. Back to school shopping can trigger anxiety in kids who are already not looking forward to heading back to the classroom. You may also notice them behaving differently as the start of school draws nearer. They may be more agitated than usual when you ask them to stop playing Fornite and finish their summer reading assignments. While you may be getting agitated yourself, use this as an opportunity to help your child grow into a resourceful and confident student.
Take your child’s feelings seriously. Normalize uncertainty and anxiety, so they do not feel alone. You do not want them to struggle with whatever it is they are feeling and thinking their feelings are not valid. Experiment with different mindful activities to help them relax. Have them put down their smartphone and try a body scan with them. This activity can help them identify where they are noticing anxious feelings in their bodies. Have them get off the couch and head outside, after all; breathing exercises can easily be done anywhere and anytime. The fresh air will do them good.
Make sure they put their electronics away at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, try practicing some simple yoga moves before going to bed to help them feel less anxious.
Be Playfully Curious During Your Morning Routine
If your morning routine during the summer has included sleeping in until noon and Pop-Tarts for breakfast, getting back into your school routine can be a bit unsettling for the whole family. Talk with your kids in advance about what school mornings will look like. Get curious with them about what reminders they will need to remember to brush their teeth, remember their homework, and wear matching socks. Be creative with them! Create fun posters, notes for their lunchbox, or handmade calendars. A little preparation and some teamwork can ensure that not every morning involves a last minute run through the Starbucks drive-thru for breakfast.
Morning can be a great time for everyone to set one intention for the day and will provide a great way to check in later in the evening.
Strength Spotting Can Help With Homework
Let’s face it; your kids are likely more interested in Snapchatting with their friends after school than doing their homework. Knowing your child’s temperament and what they need to focus on can help you influence your child’s success. For example, do they need quiet? Do they work better with others around? Do you need to hide the remote so they can focus? How do they need you to be present? How long can they sit before they get distracted by their phone? Do they need shorter breaks more often, or can they sit still and get it done in one stretch? A great way to offer encouragement is to strength-spot them. “Your creativity helps you with your writing. I am proud to see you are using it to do such a great job on your research paper”.
If your kids are quick to grab for Doritos or juice boxes after school, make sure to have some healthy snacks on hand to keep their energy level up.
Be Intentional During Your Evening Routine
A consistent evening routine is just as important as your morning routines. Be intentional in winding down so your children can ease into the transition of going to sleep. Try to complete preparations for the next day (picking out clothes, getting their backpack ready, preparing and packing their lunch) as early as possible. It’s important to make time for the things that help them to relax. Rather than binging on Netflix, try a mindful activity like the body scan, deep breathing or even a warm calming soak in the tub. Evenings are a great time to read together to encourage curiosity and a love of learning. Parents that are fully present for this part of their child’s day can more easily wind down from their day as well.
Sometimes snuggling is all children need to go from their day to a good night’s sleep.