Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end, and it's time to head back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier for the whole family.
Adjust Sleep Schedules
For many, summer vacation means staying up late, sleeping in and lack of a schedule. Use the week before school starts to get everyone adjusted to their school year schedules. Slowly work toward your ideal bedtimes and wake-up times throughout the week so that waking up early on the first day of school isn't such a shock. The National Sleep Foundation suggests kids aged 3-5 get 10-13 hours of sleep per night, kids aged 6-13 get 9-11 hours, and teens 14 and older get 8-10 of sleep per night.
Make a Practice Run
Before school starts, make a dry run of the school route. Show your child the bus stop, drive the carpool route or make the walk to school. Summertime traffic is about to end, so be sure to factor more traffic and delays into your commute.
Ease the Morning Rush
Mornings are always hectic, but you can help make them go a little smoother by doing a few things the night before. Make lunch, set out clothes for the next day, pack up the backpack and set the table for breakfast the night before.
Create a Calendar
The start of school also means the start of fall sports, clubs and other extracurriculars. Stay organized by tracking each family member's activities on a communal calendar. A dry-erase calendar is a safe bet, as you can start fresh each month and adjust any changing appointment times if necessary. If you're really feeling organized, use a different color marker for each member of the family.
Attend Open Houses
If your schools hosts an open house or back-to-school night, go with your child. Together you can meet the teacher, find their locker and tour the school. This will help your child feel more at ease when it's time to do it on their own.
Stock up on Supplies
Get a school supply list, and take the shopping trip with your children. Stock up on all the essentials, but letting them pick out one cool notebook or fun pen can go a long way in helping them be more excited to head back to school.
Find Familiar Faces
Chat with parents of friends and classmates to find out who else was sorted into the same classroom as your child. Knowing there will be a familiar face there on the first day can make a huge difference. Schedule a play date before the first day so they have a chance to reconnect.
Develop Good Homework Habits
Pick a designated "Homework Spot" in your home and make sure it is conducive to good study habits. Children are most comfortable with routines, so it also helps to choose a designated homework time, and make sure that the television and other distractions are turned off during that time.
Create a Storage Station
Pick an area in your home where your children will put away their backpacks, lunch boxes, jackets, and sports and music equipment. Whether you give them space in the closet or put hooks by the door, having a designated space will help your child stay organized (so you don't have to!). See more here.
Don't Forget About Yourself
While you'll surely be focused on getting the kids organized and ready to get out the door, don't neglect yourself! Pack yourself a nice lunch, pick out clothes the night before, take a few minutes in the evening to go over the schedule for the next day and leave time to eat a good breakfast. If the entire family is organized and ready, everyone will have a much smoother transition back to school.