Summer has been a blast, and now we face the bittersweet time of transitioning back to the school time schedule. Whether you are dreading it or looking forward to it, here are the Green Art Labs suggestions to maintain a bit of balance between easing your kids (and yourself!) back onto a schedule and savoring the precious last days of summer.
1. Set your “roll-it-back” bedtime clock schedule.
Summer is a great time to allow the kids to stay up late and be off the bedtime schedule. As we transition back to school nights, set the bedtime clock back by 10 minutes each night until you reach the ideal night-before-first-day-of-school time. This will require some planning; we use the wall calendar and write each night’s bedtime starting at night-before-first-day-of-school and working backwards.
2. Set aside some time every day to have fun with your child.
Whether it’s running to the pool for a quick hour together on a hot afternoon or counting the stars on a blanket in the backyard before bedtime, do at least one thing each day to connect and have fun. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, just together.
3. Prioritize your last summer activities.
If you are anything like us, your family still has a list of things to do for the summer. As summer days wind down, we may not be able to tackle everything on the list. As a family, decide on the top 3 or 4 items and plan days to do those things, accepting that every item on the list may not happen. Try to plan a “down day” to laze around the house, watch a movie, or get chores done in between big outing days.
4. Reminisce about your best times this summer.
At dinnertime or any other ideal family time, ask each family member what their favorite times or activities of the summer have been. Ask about what they liked best about each one. Don’t forget to include your favorites!
5. Look forward to the school year.
Similarly, ask each child what they are looking forward to about the coming school year. If the child is one who has anxiety or fear of the coming new time, help them to work out some positives that they can look forward to, and assure them that fun times don’t end with the summer.
6. Get creative.
If you’re hearing “I’m bored…” get a family project going to creatively highlight #4 or #5. Print out some photos and make a poster or photo album page of summer bests. Gather rocks or flotsam collected from the beach and combine in a bowl or collage. Write down hopes for the upcoming school year on scraps of paper and save in a jar to be opened at a designated time after school starts; see how many come true! Go free form and come up with your own process and project.
We hope these tips will help you prepare for the upcoming transition back to school. And we hope you and your child will be getting creative with us, or otherwise, during the upcoming school year!