When I was a kid, on the first day after school would let out each year, the summer ahead seemed endless. Ten weeks, give-or-take, felt like a lifetime. I was determined to sleep late, watch lots of TV, stay up late, and hang with my friends at the beach or the movies or the local haunt. And if I was lucky, I might even get a part-time job to earn some spending money.
Of course, summer vacation never lasted forever. Alas, those interminable weeks came and went way too fast. Soon those dreaded back-to-school sales would arrive—a harbinger of things to come and the trigger for my annual case of back-to-school blues. Family vacations were winding up, the days were getting shorter, and both parents and school-aged children were shifting the focus from being out of school to getting ready for it again.
At home, we’d begin to change our routines to better match the school clock and calendar. While I was never a big fan of getting aboard the “back-to-school” train a few weeks early, I now recognize how settling back into our school-centric routines before we really had to made the transition so much easier.
1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise. Regardless of your child’s age (or your age, as a parent, for that matter), sleep is a requisite. Establish regular bedtimes and wake-up times to allow plenty of time for rest as well as plenty of time to get ready in the morning without having to make a mad dash for the door and the bus (and remember, what’s good for the kids is also good for Mom and Dad)!
2. Plan Healthy Meals and Snacks for Home and School. Eating well doesn’t just happen. It takes planning and preparation, two things that often fall by the wayside when families get busy and stressed. Take the time to plan daily breakfasts, lunches, dinners, as well as healthy snacks for in-between. Well-fueled bodies lead to well-fueled brains . . . plus you and your kids will feel more energized and get to enjoy time together preparing and eating meals.
3. Gear Up. From clothing to school-related supplies, August is usually the time most kids gear-up for the start of school. You’ll surely find no lack of back-to-school sales at all your local merchants or online. Talk to other students, teachers, and parents to find out what other kids are getting for school supplies, including what might be needed/required. The more you can do ahead of time, the less stressful those first few days at school will be for kids and parents alike.
4. Maintain a Family Schedule. Knowing who’s where and when is critical to lowering stress levels during the school year, especially when kids are involved in multiple activities and Mom and Dad are busy with work or activities of their own (yes, parents get to have lives too!). Keep an online calendar (such as Google calendar) or use a dry erase board that everyone in the family can access—and if you rely on extended family (grandparents and aunts) or friends/neighbors, be sure to include them in your scheduling as well.
5. Dedicate an Area for Studying. This could be a family room or even a student’s bedroom, provided it’s distraction fee (aka no TV and no social media) or can be made so for study times. This dedicated area is where all things related to school should come home to roost—books, backpacks, school papers, laptops, etc.—so a corner of the kitchen table or edge of the bed just won’t do. This needs to be a dedicated spot that is organized and accessible, without a lot of fuss.
6. Be Planful. With in-school and after school activities galore, the life of a student can descend into chaos quite quickly. In addition to the previously mentioned family calendar and dedicated at-home study area, students need to have some form of daily planner they can use to keep track of assignments and where they need to be. While many students will opt to use electronic organizers for their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, others will choose to rely on teacher websites to track assignments and coursework. A word of caution about teacher websites, they rarely reflect real-time changes to schedules and assignments that may occur in class, so are not always reliable for planning. For many, the best solution is an old-fashioned printed/physical daily or weekly planner, available at most back-to-school retailers.
7. Get Organized. One of the biggest impediments to academic success is lack of organization, especially with student books, papers, assignments, and electronic devices: where to store them, how to transport them, how to keep them safe, and how to access them when you need them? Mobile Edge offers a wide range of stylish and student-friendly laptop sleeves, messenger bags, and backpacks to help students get organized, stay organized, and keep their gear safe.
The end of summer vacation time can be a stressful time for kids and Moms and Dads alike. It’s time to get back to school, back to work, and back to those good old habits (and some new ones) that make life easier. Take the time now, over the next few weeks, to ease back into those old routines. You, your family, and your grades will be glad you did!
What tips or suggestions do you have for back to school time? Share them here.
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Founded in 2002, Anaheim-based Mobile Edge provides durable and protective laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, and more for busy travelers, students, professionals, and gamers. Mobile Edge is known for its innovative and stylish designs, superior-quality, lifetime warranty and commitment to customer satisfaction.