The switch from summer mode to fall can be a tough one. One day you’re sleeping late then slowly making your way to a lounge chair, the next you’re setting the alarm for 6:00 a.m. to make sure your teens are ready for school.
But you don’t need to get whiplash from the change. Here are a few simple strategies you can put in place to help with the adjustment.
It’s easy to fall into the panic-induced Must. Buy. Everything. Now insanity. But that’s exactly what it is. Insanity. Your children don’t need every single new gadget and gizmo, even though they may think they do. Give your kids a reasonable budget so they can think critically and choose one or two trendy items. Will it be a new pair of popular jeans or a pricey backpack? Their choice.
Do a dry run
One of the biggest concerns on kids’ minds is the logistics of navigating a new school. How will I open my locker? How will I find my classrooms? Where will I sit during lunch? If your school offers an orientation, take advantage of it. If not, ask if the school will accommodate a visit for your child and a few of his friends. Let them practice opening and closing their lockers, getting around the building, etc.
Summer is famous for lounging around and doing absolutely nothing. Back to school means getting up and out, doing homework, running from activity to activity … all on a schedule. Get into the swing of things right away by setting up a manageable routine. Put together a morning schedule that kids can follow themselves, create a homework space which includes everything kids will need — a computer, pencils, pens, calculator, etc. Eat dinner as a family and talk about how you’ll handle this year and what your kids will need from you. Discuss how much screen time is reasonable each day. And begin a bedtime ritual (20 minutes of reading, crossword puzzles, etc) so everyone can get enough sleep.
Get out and move
Another terrific ritual to begin this time of year is an exercise routine. It’s one of the best ways to beat stress — back to school or otherwise. Enjoy the last days of summer with after-dinner walks or bike rides with the family, which can help your physical and mental health and solidify your family unit. Use the time together to talk about your days, what you all look forward to tomorrow, etc. Start regular physical activity now, while it’s still warm, so that it will be a habit by the time the weather turns cool.
Do what you can the night before
Make mornings less hectic by planning as much as you can at night. Urge kids to pick out their clothes, pack lunches at the same time as you’re preparing dinner, and get homework put away in knapsacks.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.