You've probably been thinking of back to school since July because that's when the ads first appeared. Of course they did -- we need to make way for Halloween already.
So here are some recommendations to help you and your children get your heads back into the game.
#1 - Return to a Routine
Return to a routine that features an earlier bedtime, an earlier wake-up, and three healthy meals timed close to when they eat on a usual school day. Include snacks, too.
Revisiting your routines is the most essential feature of planning for back to school. Enough with the math drills (unless they love it). Nothing will prepare them for the shock like getting their bodies attuned to the daily schedule. Adequate sleep and nutrition are key.
Ensure there is ample time every morning to eat a healthy breakfast. Notwithstanding nutritional concerns, a hungry kid generally has trouble focusing.
Routine is not just about what you do, but how you do it. Get your morning routine back into shape. If they have been lazing around at breakfast in PJs all summer, return to your procedure of getting dressed first.
You might also want to write a checklist of what needs to be done in order to get out the door in the morning. Summer, while always too short, is still long enough to make anyone forget what needs to go into their backpacks. I'll keep my checklist handy in order to avoid the litany of complaints of what I failed to remember. (Glass of wine for mom? CHECK.)
#2 - Read Every Day
Read every day. I always tell you to do that, because there is no better way to feed the brain. Depending on age and ability, you can read aloud to them, or they can read independently. Regardless, the enjoyment of books should occur 365 days a year. In terms of routine, you might want to read at night (especially with older children) because it will prepare them for the reappearance of that four-letter word spelled with eight letters: homework.
#3 - Get a Wall Calendar
If you haven't done so yet, get a wall calendar! It doesn't matter how connected we are to our gadgets. I think the plain handwritten visual reminder of the day's schedule beats any tech device, and it will help your family function like a well-oiled machine.
#4 - Enjoy the Last Days of Summer
Enjoy these last days of summer to the fullest. Visit the CNE (which will kill your routine for the day but it's worth it), go for a long morning bike ride, hike in the afternoon, play at the park, hang out with friends, go swimming, eat ice cream.
Setting up playdates with school friends will help them reconnect with their classmates and give them something to look forward to.
Give them fond memories of summer, because that's what summer is for, and send them back to school feeling fully satisfied and ready to learn.
About the Author: Stacey Cline is an elementary school teacher and educational consultant. She is amazed by what she learns from her students every day. Stacey is passionate about reading, and has amassed a fantastic collection of children's literature that her family enjoys daily. She is a regular contributor at Her Magazine.
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