Help your family make a smooth transition with some planning and preparation.
Published: September 24, 2020
By: Courtesy of Family Features
If there’s one constant this year, it’s change. With another school year comes even more change, but you can help your family make a smooth transition with some planning and preparation.
Allow time for adjustments. After months of later bedtimes and laid-back schedules, kids and parents alike need a little time to adjust to a new mindset. Start gradually dialing back bedtime and scheduling time for educational activities and lunchtime a few weeks before school begins. This gives you plenty of time to work out any glitches while avoiding the resistance and disruption that more abrupt changes can bring.
Map out a visual guide. Especially after spending more time at home, having everyone headed in different directions may feel a bit overwhelming. This may be particularly true if your school model requires non-traditional scheduling or if you’re making a return to a more rigorous extracurricular activity schedule. For younger kids and those who learn better by seeing than hearing, a visual representation can help illustrate how schedules will be changing. Color coding by person or activity can help everyone understand who should be where and when.
Make evenings easier. A household with school-age kids is seemingly bustling all the time, but evenings are often especially busy with activities, homework, and other commitments competing for attention. Gathering everyone around the table for a meal may be a challenge, so when you do succeed, give yourself permission to shave time where you can. For example, keeping disposable tableware on-hand lets you skip the cleanup on nights you don’t want to do dishes and spend more time assisting with science projects and cheering on athletic teams. Premium options like Chinet Classic White plates and other items like to-go cups are strong enough for the heaviest, messiest meals so you don’t have to worry about spills and leaks.
Set a positive tone. Transitions happen more easily when the destination is exciting and appealing. Help kids get excited about a return to school by talking about what they’re looking forward to and offering reassurance about their concerns. Allow kids to put a personal touch on supplies they’ll be excited to use, such as a new backpack or headphones for online learning. Put simply, model positivity for students to mirror as they head into a new school year.
Spend family time together. At the end of each day, once everyone is done with school and work, make some time for a physical activity the whole family can participate in. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air or a game of tag or soccer in the backyard, getting active together can be an easy way to spend time winding down and bonding.
Enjoy More Convenient Mornings
How you begin each day sets the tone for the hours that follow. Put yourself on course for a successful, stress-free day by eliminating hassles and introducing some tricks to make each morning as convenient as possible.
Find a routine that works: Numerous parenting experts recommend routines for children, but they’re beneficial for grownups, too. A regular routine takes the guesswork out of what comes next so you can go through the motions of getting ready before your brain is fully engaged. There’s no perfect order for getting things done, just find what works best for your family. With a little trial and error, you can create a system that gives you peace of mind that every box gets checked before the family scatters in different directions each morning.
Wake up prepared: Even the best routines sometimes go awry, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and minimize the impact. Using the evening to ensure each student has everything he or she needs for the next school day eliminates a lot of commotion in the morning. Designate a place for school items, whether it’s a hook or spot by the door for backpacks or a cubby near the home school space. Use the same approach to select and lay out clothes for everyone before bed.
Rev up all your senses: Creating positive energy can be a whole-body experience. Add some upbeat music, throw open the blinds and get that coffee brewing. Signaling to your senses that it’s time to take on a new day can help you shake off any lingering drowsiness and shift into a more productive mode. It’s an approach that is both practical and fun, so you’re setting a positive tone for the whole family.
Take your java on the go: It’s not always realistic to sit and savor your first cup of coffee, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your morning energy burst. Many experts suggest avoiding coffee on an empty stomach, so taking it on the go and using your limited time to grab a bite to eat is a better alternative.