Hard to believe that summer is ending and it is time to go back to school. There is lots of excitement, but for me there is some sadness also. I will miss the carefree feelings that come with days at the pool and popsicles in the backyard. And I am always sad when the kids go back to school and I have to wait all day to see them.
There is much to do to get the kids ready to head back to the classroom. Gathering school supplies, getting back into a routine, school shopping and meeting new teachers and students.
It isn’t just the kids that can make preparations. As moms, there are a few things we can do to make back to school better for our family also.
First, we need to get OUR positive attitudes ready. I don’t know about you, but the thought of getting everyone up and out the door by 7:30 every morning can be a little daunting. I am never ready to get back to the rat race. Not to mention the driving around town every day, homework, projects, and extra laundry (no more living in our swimming suits). I have to be careful that I don’t scoff or complain about all the work a new school year brings. If we have a bad attitude, so will our kids. If we complain, so will they. We need to keep the complaints about getting up early and packing lunches to ourselves. We need to be happy and excited. Don’t talk about the work that a new school year brings, instead talk about all the great things that come with school and learning.
We also need to control our emotions. Sending our 5 year old to kindergarten, or even our teenager to high school, can be emotional. When possible, we should keep our tears to ourselves. Tears, especially to young children, worry them. We don’t want our kindergarteners to think they should stay home from school to make us happy so we don’t cry.
Second, it is time to clear OUR schedules. The first week of school will bring lots of adjustments and lots of new experiences for your children to talk about. Try to clear your schedule the first week so that you are available for your kids. Try to schedule a lot of down time after school where you are there to listen. Keep your schedule free from obligations so that you are there to drop them off, pick them up, and spend the afternoons with them when they are done. You will notice that it will really help them as they adjust to the new school year. Easier adjustment for them means easier adjustment for you.
Third, Establish your “Drop Zone”. Back to school means backpacks, musical instruments, coats, papers and books. Instead of waiting for all of the school year “stuff” to overwhelm your home, create a drop zone. This is a place where everything that your kids seem to come home and drop in the middle of the floor after school, goes. A place for papers, backpacks, coats, and instruments. Create your drop zone space before the kids start school and talk to them about what goes where. Make your expectations clear, so they know what to do with all their school stuff. This will simplify things for you and help your family transition into the new school year.
Yes, back to school is all about our kids, but it is a family affair. With some prep on our part, back to school can be a really good experience for the entire family.
Homemaker, wife and mother. My husband and I have five children. On the side I am an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University where I received a Masters Degree in Youth and Family Recreation. Three times a week I endeavor to teach college students the importance of families doing things together. Then I come home and try to figure out how to implement what I just taught. Believe me I know, It is a lot easier said than done. I used to speak French, wish I could dance, and will almost always choose fruity over chocolate.
Heather is the author of Family Volley, where writes about parenting, motherhood and relationships.