It happened again. Every year it seems that we blink and summer is over. As we collectively squeeze every last drop out of this glorious season, we must begin to prepare ourselves for what’s coming:
The re-setting of our alarms, our brains, and our bodies.
If you are a parent or caregiver, teacher, or work in the education field in some capacity, this can be an especially stressful time as you get yourselves and children back in the school year routine. To make things go a little smoother, we came up with some tips to help ease the transition.
Start setting the wake-up alarm. We know. Ugh. Whether it’s for you, your kid, or both, start setting an alarm clock at least a week before the first day of school. It doesn’t have to be set for school wake-up time yet, but gradually work your way up to that. For instance, if your kid typically wakes up at 8 during the summer, set their alarm for 7:30 for a few days, and gradually bump it back until their school wake-up time.
Get to bed earlier. Along with earlier wake up times comes earlier bed times - for both you and your kids. Start rolling it back in 15 or 30 minute increments. Going to bed earlier can make falling asleep a little harder. Choose calm pre-bedtime activities that don’t involve electronics, like reading, and invest in comfortable, high-quality pajamas. For older kids and teens, phones and tablets should be turned off and placed in another room well before bedtime. When determining a bedtime, consider that kids under 13 should get 10-12 hours of sleep each night, and teens 13-18 should get 8-10 hours. Remember, consistency is key when it comes to sleep routines.
Do your back-to-school shopping. If you haven’t purchased school supplies yet, do that first. Then, take a look at your kids’ shoes and their backpacks. Do they need to go up a size? Are they getting rips or holes? If so, you’ll need to buy new ones. Stores are notoriously crowded before school starts, so we suggest kicking back in your most comfortable Miss Elaine nightgown and shopping online if you have the time.
Visit the school. Even if your child isn’t new to the school, it may ease anxiety to visit in person. Practice your drop off and pick up routine. Attend open houses, orientation days, or any events that allow you inside the school, so kids can see their classrooms, know where to go, and hopefully meet their teacher. Also spend time outside on the playground or school track to make the space feel familiar.
Have a plan for lunches and snacks. If your kid has snack time at school, do you need to stock up on yummy snacks? If your kid brings a lunch to school, who makes them and when - the night before or in the morning? Have them practice making their lunch, or at least helping with it if they’re very young. Pack it in a lunch box like school and have a picnic. If they buy their lunches, make sure they have enough money in their school lunch account.
Practice your morning routine. A day or two before school starts, do a practice run. Set clothes out the night before. In the morning, practice getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and getting out the door with backpacks and lunches by the correct time. Instead of going to school, go to the zoo, a museum, or a park for a fun morning together.
Program alarm reminders in your phone. You don’t have to turn them on yet, but adding them now is one less thing you’ll have to do the first week of school. We have reminder alarms for everything - taking and picking up from school, taking and picking up one kid from their piano lesson, taking and picking up another from soccer practice, and so on. Inevitably, there will be hectic mornings when you end up taking them to school in your robe, but luckily we have some inconspicuous ones, like this Striped Terry Knit Robe.
Add important events to your family calendar. Check out your school’s website for the school year calendar. Add important events, like early dismissals, days off, holiday parties, etc., to your phone and/or family calendar now before the school year rush begins. This is another chore best done while cozied up in your favorite robe…perhaps with a glass of wine!
Lastly, take time to stop and savor this moment with your loved ones. Your lives and schedules are about to become a little hectic. Take them out for one last summer night ice cream. Check in with your kids about how they’re feeling. Check in with yourself and your partner. Validate their feelings. Change is hard, and feeling excited and/or nervous is totally normal. Remind all of them, yourself included, that they are loved and supported. It’s going to be a great school year!