Tips for transitioning back to school schedules

By Candy Tai from mommypalooza

Another summer break has flown by and my kids are off to start yet another fantastic school year full of learning, personal growth, friendships, and fun!  I’d be lying if I said that this new season and the transition it brings didn’t scare me a little. It does.  Not only is it a change in routine for the kids, but for me as a mom as well.  I’ve sorta gotten used to sleeping in a tad bit later and relaxing by the pool as the kids practice for their someday trips to the Olympics.  And, after talking with several other moms, I’ve realized that there are a few things that I could do to help start us all of on the right foot.  I’m committed to making the start of my children’s new school year a great one, and here’s how I’m doing it:

1. Get organized – This may seem like a no-brainer but there are specific areas of my home and life that I struggle to keep organized and on-task.  One of the things that always seems to stress me out is how to handle the paperwork, forms, worksheets, and artwork that come home each day.  Multiply that by my two school-aged kids and that is A LOT of “paper chaos” to deal with!  So, getting organized with my little “clutter counter” {i.e., the counter space in my kitchen that seems to be a catchall for papers} is imperative!  I plan on using a similar system to what I used last year.  I have a little “inbox” that I keep on the counter. It is designated for school papers that are coming home to stay ONLY!  Not bills, not my own personal papers or documents, but schoolwork.  Each day, I go through my kids’ backpacks and take out their work that they are bringing home and I date the back of it and add their initials.  This then goes into the inbox for filing down in the basement later.  I try and get these filed at least every other day or when the inbox seems to be filling up.

Hang an inbox on the side of the fridge for daily papers from school

I also have a file folder that hangs from the side of my refrigerator {next to my clutter counter} that holds school forms that need to be returned.  I put everything from Scholastic book order forms to field trip permission forms, to flyers about upcoming school events into this file folder.  It makes it easy to know that all the papers are in one central place and easy to get to.  Knowing what you need to get organized and how you want the flow of paperwork to go for you and your family will help make you feel in control of it all.  I encourage you to evaluate what you think you need and try it out for a few days to see if it’s a system that will work.  Getting yourself organized is key to your kids having a successful school year.

2. Take care of mom {i.e., YOU!} – This is one I struggle with.  I am a person who tends to accomplish the most at night after the kids go to bed.  But, if I’m going to be at all successful in getting my kids ready for a busy school day ahead, it is imperative that I am well rested and taking care of myself.  This means eating properly, getting enough rest, exercising, and some “me” time on occasion. As a mom, it is impossible to take care of your kids if you’re not taking care of yourself first.  It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I know you know what I mean.  Trying to set reasonable goals for myself each day/night will be key and sticking to a decent bedtime will have to become a priority.  I hate mornings when I’m cranky and trying to make breakfast and prepare lunches for my kids – all while being in zombie mode!  So get some sleep and take care of yourself so that you can send those kids off on the right foot!  The upside to that is that if your kids see and know you are taking care of yourself, they will want to emulate and take care of themselves!

3. Praise the process – This is key to any child’s success!  I believe in praising children for their effort and process rather than their outcome.  For example, my 1st grader sometimes gets really upset and disappointed when he feels that artwork and coloring is less than perfect.  He is rather hard on himself!  When this happens I share with him what wonderful colors he picked for his artwork or how bright and cheery his picture is.  I try to praise the process of his work rather than the outcome or the result.  This is especially crucial when it comes to sports because of the whole winning and losing thing.  Sticking with something and persevering is more important than if you came in first place or not.  So when your kids head back to school this season, keep in mind the process of their learning and make an effort to praise that process and not focus so much on the outcome.  My kids feel empowered when they are praised and I am hoping they realize the process is sometimes even more important than how things turn out as a whole.

There’s no doubt that a new school year can be an exciting and stressful time for kids and parents.  I hope that some of these points will help you as you look to create a successful and positive environment as your kids head back this season!

What tips do you have for creating a smooth transition from summer schedules to school schedules?

About Molly Saunders

I am a bear in the Digital Dept at Build-A-Bear Workshop. I work at World Bearquarters in St. Louis, Mo. View all posts by Molly Saunders

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