Wait? Summer is almost over??? I swear it just started! All the back-to-school items are up at stores and commercials are geared towards back-to-school. If your kids are anything like mine, it’s hard to get them back on school schedule. Here are five tips I’ve learned to get the kids prepared for back-to-school.
1. Move bedtime up by 15 minutes a day.
I read about using this technique for daylight savings and it helps for back-to-school. Part of the problem is that my kids end up waking up an hour later in the summer which trickles into them going to bed an hour later. So, about four days to a week before school starts, move their bedtime up gradually by 15 minutes each day. Say you start on Sunday night and they usually start their bedtime routine (baths, brush, books, etc.) at 8 p.m. You would start the routine at 7:45 p.m. and then Monday night at 7:30, etc. Eventually you’ll have moved the routine back up to your regular time.
2. Start waking them up at the usual time.
My kids have been sleeping in, which lets me sleep in. However, once you’ve moved their bedtime up, you may have to get them back in the habit of waking up earlier, too. It should happen naturally, but just in case, start setting a regular alarm, again about a week before, so you can get used to the time difference without the rush.
3. Sign them up for a day camp.
Many schools and daycares offer some sort of summer camp that starts close to the same time that they would go to school. Some of them are only for a half a day so it feels less like school and more like a fun activity. This is a great way to start getting them in the habit of waking up early and going to bed on time. We did most of our traveling in the early part of the summer and while we have a few more shorter trips planned, this has really helped us get back into some sort of routine.
4. Get back into your usual routines.
The last few weeks before school starts, get back into your routines. This might involve packing lunches and picking out clothes the night before. Even if you’re going to the pool every day this summer, getting back into your usual habits will make the transition easier. If you took a break from meal planning, get back into the habit. Your kids’ school lunchtime was at 11:30 a.m.? Make sure they start eating lunch at 11:30 a.m. Maybe you did homework at 6 p.m. every evening? Make 6 p.m. reading time or family game time until school starts. Even if these routines made more sense during the school year, certain routines can and should continue in the summer.
5. Make sure you have enough supplies.
A lot of stores are already having major back-to-school sales – like a box of Crayons for 25¢! Make sure you’re all stocked up and know what items are required for their classroom. Check your child’s backpack to see if they need a new one. Maybe they’ve outgrown some of their clothes and need new jeans or shoes. Stock up now while supplies last. You don’t want to be driving to Target the night before with only two styles of backpacks to choose from, so fit in some back to school shopping with the kids. If your kids are older, you could make it a game – like Supermarket Sweep!
Back-to-school can be daunting, especially if you’ve been able to sleep in for once! It can also be fun getting back into the routine, shopping, and just having more time with the kids. It’s never too early to get back into your usual habits and it will definitely make the transition an easier and happier one.