Back to school time is usually bittersweet for kids and for some parents a time of relief. After spending a summer trying to figure out fun things to do with their children, they can exhale knowing that they may not have to worry, at least for a while, about the dreadful comment “I’m bored!” Kids are usually excited to start a new school year because they will find out who will be in their classrooms and use all the new cool clothes and school supplies. But getting up early, having to do homework and going to bed early does not come without grunts and complaints. Here are a few tips to set yourself up for an smooth start of the school year.
Keep your sanity with effective Time Management
“I’m late! For a very important date!
No time to say “Hello”, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late!”~ Alice in Wonderland
From bedtime to after school homework time, creating a consistent routine is essential for a successful school year. The key to better managing your time is establishing consistent routines. Let’s start with bedtime; for the most part summer vacation is a time when kids and parents throw their bedtime routines out the window. While it will be unrealistic to stick to a strict routine during vacation time it is important to get children back on track before the school year starts again. A study released by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that lack of a consistent sleep routine impairs development and negatively impact test scores. Ideally you reintroduce the bedtime routine two weeks before school starts but fear not, it is not too late. Most NYC Public School students will be back to school on September 9 so you still have time.
Once you get the bedtime established it will be easier to get a morning routine started. As it is with everything, children pay more attention when they are involved in the process, whether it’s in playing, learning or setting routines; it is helpful to include them in the process. Discuss going back to school with them and what needs to be done then get their input on how they suggest they’ll accomplish their part then set up a plan. Some parents use charts or check lists of things to be done, regardless of what tools you use, getting the kids involved will get them to buy into the process and set you up for a better start of the day. It doesn’t help making it fun depending on your child’s age, things as little as stars, funny characters or rewards (such as TV/Computer time) make things a bit more interesting for them.
The same goes for after school routines. Regardless of how you feel about homework, the fact is your kids will have them and creating consistent after school routines will allow for a more peaceful home environment. Let’s be real, coming home from work tired to cook and do other chores while your child is lollygagging about then shortly before bedtime you find out that the homework was not completed; there goes the neighborhood! Forming consistent routines is not just for children but adults as well. Rushing about does not bring out the best in us and we lead by example. It is never too late to start so let’s get off to a GREAT SCHOOL YEAR Today!
Cheers to a Successful School Year 2013-14!
NYC Department of Education: Parents and Families
NYC Department of Education: Parents Bill of Rights
Take the time to explore the NYC Department of Education website, they have many resources that often go unnoticed
CBS News Video: Back to school: Getting your kids back into their sleep routines