This originally appeared in the Alegent Creighton Health Wellness Blog.
We are nearly there – the beginning of back-to-school season. Getting our kids back on track can be a little challenging after a few months of relaxed schedules, no homework, and playing until the sun goes down. Just a month or so ago, our blog was about helping kids stay engaged during summer so that back-to-school time wasn’t quite as stressful – for you or your kids. So let’s take a look at how to glide smoothly into this new school year!
One of the big issues for a lot of kids and parents is getting the sleep schedule back in place. Depending on the age of your child, the sleep schedule may relax a bit during summer. Some kids really struggle with getting back into the nighttime routine when school begins. It may be a good idea to start a week or so before school actually starts to help your child get into the swing of things. Since kids need anywhere from 8-10 hours of sleep at night to perform well the next day, make sure there is a consistent bedtime ritual to help calm things down. Literally every professional I speak with here at Alegent Creighton Health also recommends powering down all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
Other great suggestions include starting now to actually talk with your kids about the upcoming school year. Asking what they are excited about or even concerned about can help kids start their own mental preparations for the school year. It can also help parents keep the enthusiasm going or help reduce anxiety regarding worries that might be brewing.
Depending on how old your children are, consider having them practice their own time-management skills regarding homework. It’s also a great idea to double check backpacks and make sure clothes are laid out the night before. This can be a major timesaver during those busy mornings when things are not quite routine yet. Older children can be given more responsibility for doing this, but it may be a good idea to check in with them and make sure things are on track.
My colleagues here at the clinic offered more great suggestions:
- Pack lunches the night before.
- Schedule physicals and medication appointments with your kids’ providers.
- Figure out bath and shower schedules for the household.
- Take advantage of the "Meet the Teacher" days.
- While shopping at stores, review school-provided lists detailing what kids need for the upcoming school year.
- Coordinate bus and carpool schedules.
- Don’t forget breakfast.
- Take a look at what’s needed for shoes and clothing so you can watch for sales.
These are just a few ideas on how to get your kids – and yourself – off to a good start with new school year.
If you have any other ideas, please feel free to blog back. It’s always great to hear how other families are juggling this busy time of year.
Karen M. Bermel, LIMHP, MC