The back-to-school season can be stressful for families. Everyone has to adjust back to the school year routine and there can be new activities in this routine. For kids, the new year can bring new expectations and stress as they advance through grade levels and extra curricular activities.
The following ideas can be adjusted to fit each families’ needs and can help lower the level of stress surrounding the new school year.
Meet as a family and discuss expectations for the new year
Depending on the age of your children, they may or may not be able to think ahead and plan for the changes. Sit down with your children and discuss with them what will be changing in the coming weeks and what will be expected of them. Even have a talk with older children who are experienced in the back to school chaos about what they can do to help with the transition. Ask your children if they have any worries or questions about the upcoming year.
Make a plan for busy nights
The school year tends to bring busy schedules and juggling after school activities. Make a plan for things like transportation to and from activities, eating dinner, completing homework assignments, and attending school events. Discuss with your children expectations for things like homework, chores, and bedtime.
Divide and conquer household tasks
Speaking of chores, these responsibilities should increase as your children get older. Busy parents can easily become overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done. Assigning a few household jobs to children can help ease the burden. Research shows that giving children chores can benefit them. Chores help children build self-esteem and learn responsibility. Young children can handle picking up their toys, clearing the dinner table, collecting dirty laundry, and unpacking their lunch bag and backpack. Older children can handle more involved tasks, such as doing their own laundry. This helps prepare them for living on their own in the future.
For more on how chores are beneficial to children and tips on how to implement chores in your home check out this post (https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-importance-of-chores-for-kids-1095018) from verywellfamily.com.
Begin to return to a school year bedtime routine
The sleep schedule can be the hardest part of the back-to-school transition for kids that have been sleeping late all summer. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, begin to have your children go to bed progressively earlier and wake up progressively earlier. Slowly adjusting this sleep schedule will provide a much smoother transition than suddenly changing from 9:30 am to 6:30 am wake ups!
Try a visual afternoon schedule
Young children need stability and clear expectations. Creating an understandable after school routine can help reduce your child’s stress about expectations. Teens can also benefit from having a break for an hour when they get home before starting homework or chores.
The internet is full of print outs and ideas for creating your own schedule, such as this one. (https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/parenting/after-school-routine-clock-BodvfGE740CNe0y3ixNWww/)
Create a homework station
Busy afternoons may mean parents aren’t always available to keep kids on task with homework. A homework station can help with this. Your homework station can be as simple as a pencil box with various utensils in it. It can also be as elaborate as having a folder for paperwork, rulers, dictionaries, calculators, etc. A timer may also be a useful tool for homework time. Children can use a timer for taking breaks. For example, working for 15-20 minutes then taking a 5-10-minute break.
The changes and busyness of the beginning of the school year do not need to be a stressful time for your family! Use these tips as they best fit for your family to help everyone transition back to school more easily.
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