Parents all over the world are experiencing one of the biggest transitions of the year: back to school. Whether you have grade schoolers, high schoolers or kids bound for the university, it is bound to have a big effects on your routines of daily life. And that in turn, has effects on your health and the health of the family.
Summer can be a relaxing time when people are more physically active. Or it can be hectic with guests, vacations, and the routines can go out the window. Take a moment to assess your summer. Determine how you would like to capitalize on the transition back to school.
For families with kids of any age, getting back on a good sleep wake schedule is key. Start at least a week early. Get back on a good meal and snack time schedule. You should be on that schedule anyway !
Sit down with kids of any age and go over their school supplies. Let kids have as much independence as possible in picking their supplies. These are important expressions of individuality.
For university students, sit down and discuss finances. Establish a realistic budget regardless of where the money is coming from. Make sure they know how to balance a bank account and look up any card balances. Discuss expectations well in advance.
For school clothes, don’t go crazy. Start by asking kids to tidy up their room and go through their things. Younger ones will need help with this, but let them do as much as they can by themselves. Encourage them to get rid of as much as they can, but go through it later yourself for things you might need to keep for younger children or other kids whom you know. Establish a habit of giving to Goodwill, and likewise, regardless of your finances, teach kids that it is reasonable to check second hand stores for things they might need. This should be given a air of boho environmental cachet, as well as frugality. After that, establish a budget and go shopping, but just get basics until your child reinvents themselves again for that year.
Make it easy for kids to stay organized. Have an area such as a mudroom with hooks and cubbies for kids to put their things. Additionally, each child, whether large or small should have a desk area of their own if at all possible, even if they have to share a bed. This can be organization central for them. Consider having a family wall calendar, so everyone can see what family activities are coming.
Teaching kids early on to have a routine will save them tons of stress. There are routines for sleep, eating, exercise, homework, after school activities, family time and play. Teach kids by example. Make sure you have good habits yourself. Then everyone will have a productive, low stress, enjoyable school year.