School is back in session and summer is sure winding down! While it is hard to accept all that it brings, there are some comforts and routines that I enjoy getting back into. I don’t know if anyone can relate but we were WAY off schedule all summer. We left chores undone, meals were eaten on the fly (and not always the healthiest) and bed times were very loose. Today I’m sharing tips for transitioning back to school!
Five Tips for Transitioning Back to School
1. Set expectations in advance and be sure everyone is on board.
A few weeks before school started we talked as a family about what our evening routines would look like. As I mentioned, we got way off bedtime routines during the summer months. So we discuss what bed time is appropriate for each child and what they have to get done prior to bed. All of my kids love to read and unless we tell them lights out, they will keep reading until they pass out! So we established a time that they had to have lights off and no more reading.
Also, we decided on an electronics rule for the school week. If left to their own devices (ha!), they can tend to linger on electronics for longer than we want. So we decided to get pretty strict this year on time limits and playing any games during the week.
Surprisingly these rules went over without complaint and I think because we set them up ahead of time. I’ll let you know in a few months how things are still going!
2. Celebrate the start of the new year.
There are a million and one ideas on Pinterest to have fun with going back to school. The celebration doesn’t have to be grand though. Anyone remember the show Semi Homemade by Sandra Lee?? I like to use her perspective for how I do things at home–a mix of store bought with a few personal touches mixed in. So this year, I filled a bowl with apples and put it on my counter along with a mason jar filled with number 2 pencils. Also, we gathered up the few globes I had around the house and put them as a centerpiece at our dining table.
My kids favorite tradition is homemade cookies waiting for them when they get home on the first day. The only caveat I have for them to eat them is that they MUST tell me about their days. After the first day of school, I can barely get anything out of them in the afternoons. But they have come to know and accept this tradition!
3. Clear the schedule the first few weeks.
We’ve been fortunate that evening and weekend activities don’t start back up for a few weeks. It has made a world of difference for the kids to be able to ease back into a busy schedule. For now they are able to come home and still get outside and play with neighbors after school. Soon enough it’ll be a race from homework–>dinner–>evening activity–>bed.
The first weekend after school started we also left completely open. We got back into our Friday pizza and movie night that had been neglected over the summer. I tried not to drill them with too many questions about their first week and just let them RELAX. We all needed it!
4. Meal plan for lunches and dinners.
I am trying something new and writing out my meal plan for the entire month. So far so good…I’ll report back soon! I am picking meals that are easy and everyone likes this first month. I want to be available for the kids after school and not be stuck in the kitchen making complicated meals. I try to stick to my weekly dinner themes so meal planning is a super easy!!
My daughter has followed suit and decided to create a monthly lunch menu for herself. This is making all of our lives so much easier! Our plans align with each others too. So she looked at my menu plan and based some of her lunches on leftovers she can have. Taco Tuesday leftovers anyone?
5. Set some goals and routines for yourself!
It’s easy to get caught up in the kids schedules and making sure they are all set before we worry about ourselves. But the school year can be a time of new beginnings for moms too! I am really trying to make a conscious effort of balancing things I need to get done around the house with a little bit of me time. As I’ve mentioned, my days with kids at home all day are numbered so I really need to start thinking about my own goals.
Whether or not you still have kids at home during the day, it’s important to think about how you want to structure your days and week. For me, that means some time to work out, get some of the house work done, work on any personal goals I have and allow some time to connect with friends. I do a lot better when I have a routine then completely winging it day by day.
So, as sad as I always am to get back into the school flow, I can say that we are doing well with it now. I think my family, as most families, really thrives better on routine and some structure. Everyone knows what to expect and dare I say, we get a little less complaining and less negotiating when the rules are made clear. Here’s to hoping for a great school year for everyone!