The Literacy Workshop

Back to School Means Back to a Routine

September 5, 2018   Tags: , ,

There are a few tried and true tips for having a successful start to a new school year.
A new school year is a very exciting time for everyone and involves a lot of preparation. Some things that have worked for me over the years include the following:

  1. The Week or Two before School starts

    • A school year sleeping routine needs to be reset. Elementary school age children need 10-11 hours of sleep a night and teenagers need 8-9 hours to promote optimum learning. You can gradually put your kids to bed 10 minutes earlier every night until they are back on track.
    • Assess the clothing and supplies your children need. Some schools provide the school supplies and others give you a list of items you need to buy each year. Organize the materials you have from last year to determine what you really need to buy. A back to school outfit planned and set out the night before the first day and indoor/outdoor shoes organized, make the first morning run smoothly.
    • Book medical and dental appointments. The school calendar will give you information about the timing of report cards. Try not to take your child out of school for appointments during the three weeks before reporting periods, as the children will likely be writing tests and midterms. Assess your work schedule. Give your employee plenty of advanced
      notice about time off for appointments.
    • Don’t overschedule your child with activities. The start of a new school year is a real transition time. It takes time to readjust to all the demands after returning from a carefree summer break. Children can be exhausted and very cranky during the first few weeks back to school. Know your child’s limits on what they can do during the transition.
    • Talk to you children about their goals for the year and your expectations. Children will be more engaged in their learning if they set their own goals
      for achievement and take ownership for their actions. Parents need to be firm and realistic about what their children can achieve and kids need to feel supported in their goals.
  2. When school starts

    • Keep the sleeping routine going. With young children it is best not to go off track on the weekends and let them stay up late. In my experience, allowing your young child to stay up later makes them get up earlier than normal the next day. This does not make a great day for already sleep deprived parents.
    • For a less hectic morning routine there are a number of things you can do the night before. Get the children to make sure the agendas, forms and homework are in their backpacks. Meal planning with your child can be a fun and rewarding activity and it teaches life skills. For example, you could plan breakfast the night before and set out certain items to make it run smoothly. Making lunches the night before can also be a family job. It is much easier to provide nutritious meals for children when there is time to plan them. When children are ready, they can start making one family meal a week, which can be very helpful for working parents and is also an important life skill.
    • Make homework and things like practicing music something that is consistent every day. This can be part of your setting of goals and expectations for the year. Know when your child is at their best. For example, most kids need some physical activity and some food after school before getting to homework and other activities. Other routines like practicing music should be for a certain set amount of time every day. For example, my kids always practiced their music for 15-20 minutes every day right after supper. Slow and steady wins the race. When clear, unwavering expectations are in place, there is not a lot of room for arguing.
    • Plan for some memorable family time during school breaks and weekends. The whole family will enjoy coming up with ideas about how to make the year memorable. Maybe Friday becomes the pizza and family movie night? Maybe Saturday mornings are for a family activity like bike riding, hiking, swimming, or exploring art?

The start of the school year can seem overwhelming when you are unprepared. There are many simple things you can do to make the transition a smooth one. It’s time to kick off a new year of family fun and growth.