Are you about to send your kid to their first week back to school, while knee deep in tissues and a pile of paperwork to fill out? Or maybe your first week already happened, but was a bust and you need to regroup a little bit. I feel your pain, it’s intense!
How did it come to be that sending your kid off to elementary school all of a sudden feels like you’re choosing the fate of their future? Just yesterday I was nursing her, and today I’m letting her out into the big bad world on her own. It’s time to sink or swim, sweetheart.
Back to school can be so overwhelming for the parents, just imagine what the kids are going through. Here are a few tips for both to help you get through the adjustment period and help everyone relax a little bit. They won’t solve your need to buy a case of Costco-sized tissues (or that extra box of wine), but hopefully they’ll just make life a little easier.
1. Get Into a Routine
This always helped the transition into fall, even before we had school to factor in. I don’t know about you, but my kids are very routine oriented… even though I implemented two different parenting styles with both. They just seem to naturally thrive on having some sort of consistency. If you start your fall routine a couple weeks before school starts, then by the time it gets here it will be a lot less traumatic.
2. Pick Clothes Out the Night Before
Holy moly, the drama we can have surrounding outfits. It’s such a tough balance trying to nurture their creativity, while also controlling the fickleness and inappropriately matched outfits. The bigger issue for me, though, is spending money on clothes that somehow are never deemed worthy enough to wear. I work hard so that I can buy her clothes, damnit, she needs to wear them!
Okay, rant over. You get the picture though. If it’s all decided the night before, that can save hours of drama the next morning. Sometimes I’ll even lay out two options so that she is still able to “make a choice” on her own the next morning.
3. Go to Bed Early
I’m still constantly amazed at how much sleep kids truly require. I keep thinking as they get older they’ll need less and less, but then whenever I move bed time to an earlier hour they seem to function much better and be less cranky. Once again, though, don’t start an earlier bedtime the night before school starts. Give your little at least a week to get used to it.
4. Do a Trial Run
If it’s their first year at a new school, make sure you know exactly how long it will take to get there. Be sure to factor in driving through school zones, or any other traffic that may not be happening during the summer. My parents (who are taking my daughter on Mondays) did a full trial run, complete with breakfast, teeth brush, hair, getting dressed, and potty, to make sure they’re giving themselves plenty of time. This will make the first day a lot less stressful if you know exactly how long the process will take from start to finish.
5. Don’t Try to Do Too Much
You know how it can sometimes take your kid a couple of days to recover after an especially busy weekend? Well that’s not how you want them to feel during their first week of school. You want them to be as refreshed and rejuvenated as much as possible. So don’t fill your first couple of weeks with too many after school activities that will leave everyone tired and brain dead.
6. Wear Sunglasses
And while you’re at it, make sure you’re wearing waterproof mascara. Even though you won’t be the only blubbering mess there, the sunglasses provide a nice protective layer. Not only will they hide your red eyes, but you won’t risk having your child play off your emotions if they see you crying.
7. Drink Heavily
Enough. Said. And here’s a recipe for an easy Lemon Basil Martini if you need one:
Or grab your box o’ wine and make this super simple Blood Orange Sangria:
Do you have any special things you do to get ready for school?