How to Transition Back Into School-Mode
Parenting expert and Entrepreneur in Residence Rosie Pope shares her tips for easing into it.
As I write this, I’m in the last days of a family vacation. It’s hard to imagine that, in around 48 hours, I’ll wake up to a screeching alarm instead of the sound of the ocean. Soon after that, my kids will be diving back into school. It’s important to transition kids back into school mode—as opposed to letting them ride out summer vacation and making the inevitably harried switch the night before! The thing is, I’ve realized that easing into back-to-school is as important for me as it is for my kids. Starting that transition doesn’t mean ending their vacation early. It’s about easing back into your daily routines so that both you and your kids are ready for the first day of school—and so that the post-holiday blues aren’t too much to handle. Think of it like starting a new workout regime. It’s easier to do so gradually than to try and run a marathon your first date with the treadmill! The school year is a marathon, my friends, so it will serve you well to start training now.
School-Year Habits to Keep Up in the Summer
If you let these slide when school let out, start them up again today!
1. Read regularly
It’s easy to skip bedtime stories when bedtimes inevitably become later over the summer, but kids’ reading levels often drop by the time they return to school as a result. Do your best to make it part of your vacation. Math is equally important—but often trickier—to keep up. If you don’t see your family sitting down to do exercises, give the Bedtime Math app a try.
2. Get enough sleep
Just because your family may not have to wake up for school or work the next day doesn’t mean you should let bedtimes slip too much. Little ones tend not to sleep in, even if they go to bed late, which just makes for a cranky day!
Habits to Start a Week Before the First Day of School
1. Go back to normal bedtimes and wakeup times
Don’t expect your kids (or yourself) to be able to adjust back to your normal sleep schedule overnight. You know your kids best, but shifting bedtime and wakeup time in increments of 10, 15 or 20 minutes each day works well for most. Start getting back into your usual bedtime routine at this time, too. It helps kids get that sleepy feeling.
2. Get on a schedule
If your kids are involved in after-school activities during the year, their schedule begins early and doesn’t stop until they hit the pillow at night. Schedules require discipline (homework, anybody?), so get your kids used to a more structured day. Limit screen time so that it reflects what you’d usually allow (so they aren’t watching cartoons in the middle of the day), set daily times for activities and quiet learning time.
3. Connect them with classmates, new and old
Get your kids connected with the kids who will be in their class come September. If it’s a new school or class, make an effort to reach out and set up some play dates (if not, it’s still great to help your kids reconnect with friends from the previous year). Spend time with their parents, too, especially if you’re a working mom and need someone to give you information you might miss at drop-off or pick-up.
4. Make a bucket list
Before the summer comes to an end, make sure to either review or make a bucket list of activities you want to do. Checking some of those things off will give you a sense of satisfaction and readiness for when the school year begins. I, for one, always experience the post-holiday blues, and I know the way I feel can affect the way my kids feel. I’m not going to lie, there is no easy fix—making another mai-tai and pretending I’m by the pool definitely only makes matters worse! I tell myself that, without my work, there would be no vacation—I better get back in the swing of it so we can make even more amazing memories next summer.