Preparing for Back to School
Heading back to school can be stressful for everyone, especially parents! While the children are filled with excitement, parents are filled with anxiety of potentially forgetting something or being prepared enough for the new routine.
Whether this is your first time sending your child(ren) off to school or to eighth, the stress of the change of routines can be overwhelming. Remember that this is a time for parents to celebrate and enjoy the new adventure ahead for the whole family. Make sure you are “checking in” yourself, take time to evaluate, meditate, relax, and enjoy the presence.
Stress plays a big role on everyone physically and mentally, and stress is inevitable with change. You are now juggling new routines, including school, soccer, ballet or some other practice, along with ensuring everyone in the family is fed on time, not to mention throwing your regular routine into the mix. Unfortunately, regular life isn’t put on hold when change jumps into the mix. Below are a few tips on how to manage the new schedule(s) and assist with alleviating and minimizing stress.
- Get back into your sleep routine.To help eradicate those stressful school mornings, set up a regular bedtime and morning time routine to help prepare your child for school. Begin your usual school sleep routine about a week or so before school starts.
- Establish/re-establish school routines. Have your child practice getting back into the rhythm of their daily school routine. You can do this by having them wake up at the same time every day, and eat around the same time they would at school. About a week or so before school starts, plan a few outside activities where your child will have to leave and come home around the same time they would if they were in school. This will help them be rested and ready for the big day.
- Meal Plan. Plan your meals for the week on Sundays or Saturdays. Set aside a time to write out the planned meals and grocery shop for them. You can take the extra step and prepare each meal as well and place in the fridge or freezer for easy preparation. Also, if possible, make lunches the night before. This can be an activity you do with your kid(s) or after you send them to bed. Regardless it will help out when there’s no time in the morning to make lunches. Eat Right Ontario provides a number of resources to help with meal planning: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Recipes/School-lunches.aspx
- Set up a homework station. Sit down with your child and together designate a time and place where (s)he can do their homework each day. This can be somewhere quiet like in the den, or even in the kitchen while you are preparing dinner. Make sure to choose a time where you or someone is available in case your child needs help.
- Prepare for the unexpected. Working parents know that it can be difficult to find a sitter when your child is sick. Before school even begins, it’s a good idea to have a sitter already lined up in case you get that phone call home from the nurse saying your child is ill.
- Schedule “family time”. It can become very hard to find a time to get outside and play or spend time with your family. To plan ahead, set aside a time each day or a few day(s) or evening(s) each week to spend time as a whole family. This time can be used to play a game outside, go to the park, make arts and crafts or even read together. To help you and everyone in the family remember the date(s) mark them on the calendar in a place for everyone to see. Participaction is a great website to get ideas on activities to get active as a family: https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/home
- Review school material and information.For most parents, schools send home a packet with a ton of information regarding their child’s new teacher, important dates to remember, emergency forms, and transportation routines. Make sure that you read through this information carefully, and mark down all important dates on your calendar.
- Get organized. The best way to prepare for back to school time is to be organized. With school comes a massive amount of paperwork which can consume your household. Designate a spot in your house for homework, permission slips, and any other school-related papers. This can help eliminate all of that paper clutter and make your life less stressful.
- Get your child’s yearly checkup. School and germs go hand in hand, so it’s best to get your child’s yearly checkup before school even starts. Get any required vaccinations and ask your pediatrician the best ways your child can stay healthy throughout the school year.
Through preparation and organization, you can ensure that your child will have a smooth transition to the start of the new school year. By doing so, you and your child can will be prepared and can enjoy the time you have once school starts.