After a long summer off, it is often hard for kids (and parents) to get back into school routines. Many kids are used to their summer routine of sleeping in later, playing in their PJs in the morning and casually getting dressed and out the door for some non-time-sensitive fun activity. Sadly, summer is coming to an end and it is back to the “real world” of the morning hustle, school, homework and other after-school commitments. Below is a quick tip list of how parents can make this transition easier for our kids and ourselves.
1. Sleep Schedule Prep:
If possible, start getting kids to bed at their school bedtime around 1 week before school begins. This will help their bodies adjust and be easier to wake them up early for school.
2. Plan Outfits:
Together with your children plan out what they will wear for the 1st week of school. Lay out everything including socks and underwear. You can even label the stacks of clothes with the day of the week to make it very easy. This will help reduce meltdowns and stress in the morning the first week back.
3. Meal Planning:
Having school begin is not only a transition for kids but also for parents. Make your life easier the first week back by planning out a full week of meals ahead of time. Buy all ingredients and even make and freeze some meals ahead of time. You can also pull out the trusty crock-pot to have things all ready to go after a long day. (To the extent possible, also pre-pack lunches the night before to save time in the morning.)
4. Make Morning Routine Checklist:
Especially for the younger ones, it is important to break things down into simple steps. This is why a basic morning routine checklist is so helpful. Make a list on paper, white-board or even on the bathroom mirror of the steps to get out the door for school. Your list may look like this:
- Go Potty
- Brush Teeth
- Get Dressed
- Eat Breakfast
- Make Sure Everything is in Backpack
- Put on Shoes / Coat
- Go Into Car / Go to Bus Stop
5. Use Kudo Banz to Make It Fun and Easy
To make the transition back to school fun and easy, Kudo Banz is the perfect motivator for kids. Kudo Banz works like a sticker chart, but goes on your child’s wrist so it’s always there to keep kids focused on their goals. Pick steps in the school routine that are a challenge for your child. Maybe it is getting out of bed without mom/dad asking multiple times, eating breakfast in a timely manner and doing homework without complaint. Discuss with your child that when they do these things successfully they will earn a Kudo for their band. Earn 3 Kudos and they get to spin their reward wheel! You can even customize their wheel with back to school ideas like a fun eraser, surprise treat in lunch box or after-school playdate.
The key to a successful transition back to school is to keep things fun and positive. There will always be bumps in our days but our job as parents is to keep focused on the good things our children are doing (vs the negative) and give them praise for those things. Find the good and affirm it! This way they are more likely to repeat those things and find other ways to be praised for good behavior.