Have you ever had those weeks where life is a whirlwind of school, school meetings, orientations, sports practices and church? The back to school transition is especially hard for families who take a break from the rigid school schedules and just enjoy the summers. The best part of summer is the vacation from the crazy mornings!
Soccer started back up; we’ve had a bunch of cancelled practices due to our daily afternoon monsoons (Welcome to Florida!) which have made it a tiny bit less hectic. However, sticking to my daily gym routine has been difficult. Raising my kids to prioritize health and physical activity is important to me so I make it a point to skip the gym only when extremely necessary (usually only if one of them is ill.)
This post was sponsored by Follett as part of the #FallBackToSchool campaign. All thoughts, opinions, and tips are solely my own.
When everyone goes back to school!
Plus, I decided that it was time for me to go back to school–for real. I am not only taking my last pre-requisite class before I apply to nursing school; I am taking it at the school and not as an online class.
That being said…
This school year’s transition from summer break to school was smooth as silk. In fact, it was pretty seamless. Don’t get me wrong, last year was a nightmare. Tears, screams of “No! I want to go to bed,” and cries of “Mommy, I can’t open my eyes” punctuated our mornings the first few weeks of school.
This year has been easy but we’ve still had bumps here and there because my kids are kids.
Regardless, the easy transition was not intentional. I only noticed it in hindsight so I thought I would share the Top Ten things that I believe made the change from lazy summer to busy fall so easy.
How to make the beginning of fall less stressful.
Build up the excitement
By the end of summer, my kids were ready for a new routine. (They were sick of seeing my face all day everyday!) When they began to jabber about their friends and who they were excited to see, rather than quash it, I joined in. The children in our school come from all over the county, rather than our neighborhood, so many of their friends they didn’t see at all over the break.
Get a large white board and write down the family schedule. Tell the children what is in store for the next day so they know what to expect. My kids know that on my school days, I have to drop them off and then immediately head to school across town. Each day I explain when and where we are headed after school. Since they know what is on the agenda, there are less surprises for them and less rushing.
My kids are sllllloooooooowwwww. It can take ten minutes for my son to put on his shoes. It takes even longer if he is “surprised” and interrupted from something he is currently engaged in. Simply giving him the plan ahead of time saves us both angst.
That being said, I can’t communicate the plan if I haven’t thought of one. It’s a struggle for me to remember to write down plans and an even bigger struggle to find it after I have written it. However, putting in a little bit of thought makes a big difference. My daily plans breaks up the day into blocks.
The morning block is scheduled down to the minute with our out-the-door routine. There is no dropping the kids off and then coming back home to shower and change for me on school days. I was spoiled last year!
For instance, I have my “mom in school block” alternating with my “mom working block” (My classes are every other day. I write and study on my off school mornings.)
Afternoons are broken up into relaxing/afterschool snack time, homework time, gym time, soccer practice/errands, dinner and bed.
Without a solid plan, I wouldn’t be able to juggle family, blogging, and my school work load.
Wake up at least 30 minutes before the kids
The stillness and quiet of early mornings grounds me and helps me mentally prepare for the day. Along with working out, this part of my routine keeps me balanced and sets my tone.
Sometimes I do over sleep and end up waking up right before the kids. Those days are always more hectic. I worry that starting the morning projecting my stress onto the kids sets them up for a stressful and difficult day at school.
Our family is a team. Each person plays their part in how well we navigate the day.
This tip is on every single “tips for easier mornings” post you will read. Prepare as much as you can the night before! Pack lunches, lay out clothing, prepare back packs so that everything is ready to go in the morning.
Schedule in down time
I learned long ago that the key to avoid meltdowns when times are stressful is to make time to play. The hour spent outside is not a waste of time when it prevents the hours of bad behavior and crankiness. I also find it helpful to schedule in technology time. If it isn’t included in downtime and communicated, then my kids are more prone to ask about using the iPad which ends up annoying me and leads to negativity and drama. Drama makes us veer off schedule.
Focus on positivity
It’s hard to be positive all of the time. I try, though. I try to keep my complaints about being busy to a minimum. We are busy because the kids are back in school, which is a good thing. I am back in school improving myself–another good thing. Pork Chop is playing soccer, a sport that he loves. He is learning about teamwork, being physically active, and practicing good sportsmanship–all good things. This season of life is busy but I wouldn’t give it up.
Knowing what your kids are feeling is invaluable. When I forget to ask them what their favorite part of the day was, my kids remind me and tell me anyway! Talk to their teachers, volunteer at the school, read the notes the teachers send home. It doesn’t have to take much time but if you are involved in what is going on at school, you can adjust as needed to make sure the household is running smoothly or that the schedule isn’t too much.
Some days are not going to go as well as others. That is just how life goes. In our world, routine physicals can lead to referrals to specialists, lab orders, imaging appointments. That is just how life is when you have family members with autoimmune issues. Getting frustrated by curve balls is normal but that frustration can affect the well being of the whole family.
How was your Back To School transition this year?
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