Welcome Back To School
The carefree and whimsical days of summer mean breakfast at noon, ice cream for dinner, and few responsibilities outside of picking up the house, mowing the lawn, and hunting down the best place to cool off. But now that our vacations are over and the kids are headed back to school soon, it’s time to prepare for our new normal.
The transition from summer whimsy to back-to-school rigidity can be daunting. Fortunately for us, there are a handful of simple ways to prepare for and make that transition a bit smoother for everyone in the family.
Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
Reprogramming our summer brains to wake up early and get to sleep at a decent hour takes time. In fact, it can take up to 2-3 weeks to reset your sleep cycle! Here are just a few tips to help establish a back-to-school sleep schedule.
- Start now! Or 2-3 weeks before your new schedule kicks in.
- Set a bedtime alarm to remind you to be in bed at the correct time.
- Do yourself a favor and record you favorite late-night shows so they won’t tempt you to stay up.
- Close blinds and use low-watt, warm light in the evenings.
- Give yourself an hour of technology-free time before bed.
- Establish a routine in that hour before bed that helps you let go of the day and calm your brain before turning in.
Establish Individual Responsibilities
With everyone now headed in separate directions throughout the day, it’s important to identify the daily tasks that need to get done and then delegate those tasks to different members of the household. For example, assigning the responsibility of feeding the cat or letting the dog out in the morning to one person will greatly decrease the chance of Simba going hungry or Fido having an accident on your favorite rug.
If it doesn’t work to have such rigid assignments, utilize a daily checklist (perhaps a pad of paper or whiteboard one the fridge) or a chore rotation calendar.
Arrange for Services
Ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to arrange for child care, pet care, dog walkers, weekly house cleans, yard maintenance, etc. Remember, everyone heads back to school right about the same time, and these services will be fully booked before you know it. Get an early start so that you don’t miss out on your preferred companies, sitters, and service providers.
Plan Family Time
This is SO important and applies to ALL members of the household. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, so easy in fact that you may not realize until Thanksgiving that you’ve hardly had a spare moment to simply enjoy the company and companionship of your family members (including the furry ones.) Here are just a few things that can help squeeze a little bit of family time into every day.
- Plan a meal a day, or maybe just a few meals a week, where everyone can sit down and eat together.
- Have family meetings.
- Carpool. When time and schedules allow, carpool with your family to share a few extra minutes together.
- Go on walks! Fido needs to get out every day so why not make it a family affair?
- Say goodnight. That’s right, even if you head to separate bedrooms at different times, end your day by saying your goodnights.
You’ve set your daily schedule, delegated responsibilities, and managed to get your sleep back on track. However, work meetings, vet appointments, school conferences, birthday parties, and other unscheduled events are bound to pop up.
Keep everyone on the same page and adjust schedules and responsibilities as needed with family meetings. Whether it’s a brief family meeting once a day before bed time or once a week before another Manic Monday, do what works for you and yours.
Through all the impending chaos of a new season and the changes it brings, take time to breathe, relax, and smile. Enjoy the little things in your life and the loved ones you’re surrounded by. Take it day by day and soon you’ll find the rigid back-to-school lifestyle just as enjoyable and fulfilling as those fun-filled days of summer!