And we’re back! The 2017-2018 school year has begun and families are getting out of summer mode and back in the swing of waking up early, feeding the family breakfast, getting ready for school and work, the commute to and from school, homework, and reasonable school bedtimes. As we begin the new school year, here are some strategies for adjusting:
- Establish a healthy bedtime routine. Give children an alarm clock, which will help them take accountability for their own wake-time. Be consistent with bedtimes in order to establish structure, consistency, and a good sleep-wake cycle.
- Plan outfits the night before. Don’t wait until the morning to pick out outfits and dress each child. Have these things decided and laid out the night before.
- Set-up a staging area. Use a central spot to store everything related to school, including backpacks, upcoming outfits, and homework. Keep this area organized and clutter-free so that you can find what you need, when you need it. Have the kids pack their backpacks and any items they need to bring to school the night before, and keep it in this area. This will help prevent those last-minute morning moments where your kid all of a sudden remembers they need to bring something out of the ordinary to school!
- Plan healthy lunches and snacks. Plan for meals and snacks ahead of time; when you do this in advance, you are more likely to select healthier choices for (you and) your kids. Protein-rich snacks and lunches, balanced with fruits and vegetables, ensure that your children will have the energy and brainpower to make it through their school day.
- Keep a family calendar. This will help to organize everyone’s schedules, assignments, practices, and appointments. Color-coding is an excellent way to keep track of each family member’s tasks. Online, shared Google calendars are another way of keeping an organized and accessible calendar.
- Review upcoming events, meetings, etc. on Sunday to prepare. Knowing you have to bring in baked goods on Tuesday will be much less stressful when you plan accordingly on Sunday. This helps to avoid the panic of rushing out on a Monday night to buy ingredients, or running late on Tuesday morning to get to the supermarket to buy something. Know what you have coming up during the week, which help you to be organized and prepared for the week ahead.
- Create a weekly dinner meal plan. This can be done on a menu kept in the kitchen or a main area of the home, on a sheet of paper, or online calendar. Knowing what you will do for dinner each night will help you plan ahead by buying all necessary ingredients at the beginning of the week, and allows each evening to run seamlessly by having all the ingredients and not having to figure out what to cook (in the midst of homework, practices, appointments, etc.).
- Make sure to take care of yourself. The busy-ness of the school year, in addition to work, can lead parents to self-neglect. As parents, it is important to make sure you continue to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough rest. This will keep you energetic to function in multiple areas of life and ready to take on the school year ahead.
The many responsibilities and tasks that come with kids heading back to school can sometimes lead to feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, stressed, and unhappy. We are here to help if you would like to work on increasing your distress tolerance, getting more organized, and improving your mood. Contact us today to start your journey to bettering yourself.