Beat the Back-2-School Blues

Can you believe it’s back-to-school time already? It seems like we’re just finally settling into our summer routine (and remembering how to slow down and relax) and now it’s time to shift gears again!

Here are a few last minute tips for surviving the change:

Bedtimes – If you’re like me, your family bedtimes may be all out of whack because well, it’s summer and, of course, the Olympics! I’m not sure who decided to put so much awesome stuff on way past even my bedtime, but it’s definitely wreaking some havoc on our nighttime routine!

So, perhaps you haven’t had a chance to start setting bedtimes back 15 minutes earlier each night for the past two weeks to gradually ease your family back into a school schedule. It’s okay — please don’t fret! Just like when daylight savings time hits, you will recover. It may take a week or two, but you will survive this.

Here’s a plan: on the day before the first day of school, try to make sure the kids get plenty of activity (swimming, playing a sport, riding bikes, whatever your kids normally do to get some of that extra energy out). Aim for an early dinner and get the kids into bed early. When they protest that they are not tired, hand them a book to read. When they complain that they are missing the Olympics, reassure them that you are recording it for them or that you’ll catch the highlights in the morning. (I think most of it is recorded anyway, right?)

After a little bit, even if they’re still reading happily, turn the lights out at a reasonable hour. It will be tough, but you will survive this. (Have I mentioned that already? I must need the reminder 🙂 )

Prep – Now that the kids are in bed, try to get as much done as you can before the morning. Pack lunches; get backpacks ready; have clothes all set out; perhaps put an encouraging note in a bag or lunch sack for them to find; and decide on breakfast. Speaking of breakfast…

Get them excited to wake up – Plan a fun breakfast that will motivate them to get moving on this challenging day. Nothing too involved or complicated, but choose a meal that will make them smile.

Keep your expectations low – I used to be a photographer, so having a family picture on the first day of school is really important to me. But I’ve learned (the hard way!) to be flexible. Maybe instead of trying to get the whole family and the dog in the photo, I’ll be happy with an individual shot of each kid or a group shot in the afternoon when they return from school. Have an idea of what you want, but also keep some back-up ideas in mind. Be flexible. (Did I mention that already?)

Restart the day if necessary – Perhaps you decided to completely disregard the tip above and were determined to get that perfect family picture (been there, done that). If that scenario happened to end in a puddle of tears from half the family, all is not lost. Take a deep breath, hug your kids, and suggest that you restart the day. No big deal, right? 🙂

Leave earlier than you think is necessary  – No explanation needed. Everything takes longer than you think!

Plan a little something for the afternoon – It doesn’t need to be a big deal at all, but let the kids know there is something for them to look forward to after school — so they can think about if they need to during the day. Maybe it’s getting them a little treat from the drive-thru on the way home or playing board games first thing before they even have to look at homework or sort through their papers.

Be their calm – When you get to school, try to just smile, hug, and take a few low-pressure pics if it’s important to you. Nothing is a big deal — everything is going to be great. Remind them of the tip above before you head out and that you will see them again oh-so-soon as you slip out the door.

You did it! Now go cry/relax/celebrate 🙂

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