Summer is over. The days of no schedule, sleeping in, and a little too much screen time have ended and its time to get back into a routine. For many parents, this may be the first time that their children are headed off to kindergarten and this comes with A LOT of change. For me personally, the transition to kindergarten hit me like a ton of bricks. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time with a toddler and a kindergartner. The daily grind of 6am alarms (when I rarely set an alarm at all), packing lunches (ugh…I still despise this), and rushing out of the house was something that I truly struggled with for the first few months. I had a much more difficult time than my daughter did transitioning, which was not at all what I expected. Now my kids have entered third grade and first grade and I am enjoying the hustle and bustle of being back in a good routine, but it took a few years to figure things out. Here are my top suggestions for getting into a good school routine so that you can have a smoother transition than I did!
Tip #1 – Set the alarm 10 minutes earlier than you want to. I know this sounds miserable, but just do it. Laying in bed scrolling on your phone for a few extra minutes and enjoying the first few sips of coffee in silence are well worth the extra 10 minutes before the mad dash begins. As the years have progressed, I have learned how much I need this time to myself in the morning. My ten minutes have evolved into a morning workout before the kids wake up, but I’m not asking your to try this! Start small!
Tip #2 – Coffee! I don’t have much more to say here. Coffee brings me so much joy, and a good motivational mug to drink out of is an added bonus. Maybe it’s a cup of tea for you? Whatever it is, find a way to give yourself a tiny bit of joy first thing in the morning.
Tip #3 – Pack lunches the night before. I absolutely despise packing lunches. As an elementary school teacher for years, packing lunches has haunted me throughout my adult life. I have found the best way to avoid panic and ease the pain is to pack lunches the night before. Why torture yourself with this task first thing in the morning? I like to pack them right after dinner. I usually work on the dishes and pack lunches while listening to my favorite podcast. My kids shower and spend time with daddy, and I enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet after a busy day.
Tip #4 – Lay your clothes out the night before…and don’t forget the socks! This tip is a MUST. My entire family does this! Laying your clothes out the night before reduces stress and arguments in the morning and is one less thing you have to use brain power on in the morning. There is something so easy about my children rolling out of bed and throwing on their chosen outfits. Now, let’s discuss the sock issue. Do NOT forget to lay the socks out! I can not tell you how many times my children have rushed out the door to catch the bus only to realize that they didn't have sock
s for their sneakers! Lay out the socks… or have some backups by the shoe rack! This simple suggestion will alleviate much unneeded stress.
Tip #5 – Have a homework plan. My daughter didn’t start having homework until second grade and I learned the importance of establishing a good routine the hard way. We tried starting homework right when she walked in the door. This didn’t work…she desperately needed some downtime. We tried homework after dinner. This didn’t work either, as we would often be rushing to evening activities. I have found that giving her 30-45 minutes of downtime before homework begins has worked the best for us. This gives us both enough time to unwind (her to have a snack, me to get the house in order and go through school papers), before using our brains again.
Tip #6 – Don’t save reading for before bedtime. This tip may be a little controversial, I know! Some people love unwinding with a good book in bed or cherish those bedtime snuggles while reading aloud to their children. I hate to admit it, but I am not one of those people. After a long day, I just want the bedtime routine to be over!
This year, we have transitioned to reading while I work on making dinner and I love the change. My first grader sits at the counter and reads aloud to me while I chop vegetables and my daughter reads in her room or in the kitchen with us. I love the company and the eliminated pressure of getting those 20 minutes in before bedtime. This new routine has also helped to eliminate SOME of the stalling that my children do at bedtime.
I hope that the lessons that I have learned over the past few years can help you get into a good grove this school year! You can do it! Have patience and flexibility!
Do you have tips for getting into a good school routine? I would love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.
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