One of the things my kids and I love about summer is the lack of schedules. We can sleep in if we want, hit the pool in the afternoon, and we tend to stay up later than normal. However, in order for the first day of school (and the ones after that when they're not quite so excited) to be successful, we need to ease into our back-to-school routine at the end of summer.
But, how to do that? Here's what we do:
- Slowly move bedtime earlier in 10 to 15 minute increments - We've been letting the kids stay up until 9 or 9:30 most nights, but their school year bedtime is closer to 8:15 or 8:30. If we waited until the night before school starts to have them go to bed earlier, there's no way they'll fall asleep when needed since they'll likely not be tired then (due to also sleeping in). So, a few weeks before school starts, we starting moving bedtime earlier by about 10 to 15 minutes until we're at the regular school bedtime.
- Start waking up earlier - Honestly this one is probably the toughest for me. I'm more of a night owl than a morning person, so those 6:15 wake-ups during the school year kill me. I've been trying to set my alarm for 7 even during the summer, but lately I've been hitting the snooze button multiple times. So, to ease all of us into the routine, we're going to start waking up a little earlier each morning using the alarm clock.
- Work on your morning and evening routines - Even if you don't need to leave the house first thing, try to get your kids (and yourself) in the habit of waking up, eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. - everything that needs to get done on those hectic school mornings. Plus, you can start working on your after school routine also, with snacks and homework. Instead of homework during the summer, I ask my kids to read for a period of time. Don't forget to adjust mealtimes and snacks to normal school times too since the school may be on a completely different schedule than your summer one.
- Start thinking now about school lunches and snacks - Start planning what you want to pack in your kids lunches and what snacks you plan to offer after school so you're prepared when school starts. I know packing lunches is not my husband and my favorite time of night, but it sure makes it easier with a plan (and supplies)!
- Get school supplies and back-to-school clothing organized - Make sure you have all your school supplies purchased and ready to go (or at least a plan for it) so you're not running around at the last minute. I took one afternoon last week to purchase all the supplies and clothing my boys need, and I'm so happy to not have to worry about that anymore. If you're organized, you can even save money on school supplies and clothing.
- Make sure any summer projects are completed - My boys both had summer reading assignments. It was fairly easy to get them to read, but filling out the worksheets about the books was a little harder to get them to do. But, I wanted to make sure we weren't running around on the last day of summer getting it done!
- Set up a homework station - I've been brainstorming how to set up fun homework areas for my boys to use this year, and I'll share soon. Create an area for your children to do their homework that includes all homework supplies with minimal distractions - whatever works best for your child.
- Have some end-of-summer fun - Make sure you enjoy the last few days of summer when you can go to the pool, hang out with friends, and generally not have to worry about homework.
What about you? Do you ease into school or just enjoy the freedom of summer until the last minute? Any tips that you use?