It's funny to hear my friends with kids discuss back-to-school time. It's as if they just walked into a spa. Such relief comes over them. Before I had kids, I was almost shocked to hear how excited people are to get their kids back in school. But, I'm slowly starting to understand.
I suppose that's one way to look at it, but for many of us, the transition can bring on stressors that attack both parents and kids alike. I saw a meme on instagram that said "I can either have a good morning or get the kids to school on time, but I can't have both."
I'm still new to the process. Hayden will start pre-school soon, but Huck started first grade. (I don't want to sound like that parent that can't believe her step-son is growing up so fast, but take a peek at the bottom of this post to his sweet face three years ago!!) Stress from this time of year mainly comes from the adjustment period. A new year can bring on anxiety for kids. New classes, different friends, teachers, new schedules, homework, lack of sleep, etc. Plus, if you are in our boat as a blended family, it can be an adjustment figuring out schedules and communication with two separate households.
From what I'm learning, the best way to prevent these stressors from taking over your household is to be prepared to identify them, talk about them and hopefully prevent them. Am I paying attention to the overall vibe of my environment? Taking a mental note of what worked well in our day and what needed improving helps me. For my family, it usually comes down to these three things:
SLEEP: I wrote about overall wellness starting with sleep HERE. It's incredibly important for all of us, especially kids. The National Sleep Foundation explains most of us need more sleep than we are getting. We are sleeping considerably better with our new mattress. We also got an adjustable frame. I slept with my head slightly elevated recently because I was coming down with a cold. It helped me breath 10 times better than if I had been flat. If your child has trouble going to sleep, staying asleep or waking up in the morning, it's worth discussing with your pediatrician.* Would a melatonin supplement help? Good Day Chocolate makes chocolate bites with 1 mg. suitable for children. A good night sleep helps the morning routine, school performance, attitude...just about everything. We all know that from experience.
ORGANIZE and MOTIVATE: Both kids know if they listen and do their chores or homework (clean up toys for Hayden and homework for Huck) they get one Good Day Chocolate MultiVitamin chocolate treat. They love the reward. It helps with routine and schedule. And I love knowing it's so good for them. I also give them a probiotic.
And Joel and I need to be organized for the week ahead of time. Joel works best when he knows the schedule. He likes me to jot it down in our shared google calendar. I'm not good at remembering, but when I do, it makes life easier for him (and in turn, me). I am currently working on a space for the boys to drop bags, shoes and file folders from school. If you saw my stories recently revamping the pantry and master closet, we also got tips for this "practical closet." Stay tuned on that small redo. I wonder if it's sad how excited I am to get seriously organized? It really makes me feel good! I finally got the boys this adorable bistro table from Delta Children (so affordable, why didn't I do this earlier?). It's under $110, search "bistro table" on that link. They love that it's their own table. Huck does his homework here, too.
I know the mornings run more smoothly when I have clothes and bags laid out the night before. I never regret doing that;) This sounds like more for my daily to-do list, but if I get in the habit of it, life runs smoothly. And this isn't just for the boys, it's for me, too. When my closet is organized (my clothes are ready to go, make-up isn't in several bags, but where it should be), I get ready so much faster with less stress.
FAMILY MANAGEMENT TIME AND SOCIALIZE: This is hard. I'll be honest. I know they want/need to play, eat dinner, have bath time and bedtime routines. As kids get older, they have after school activities, sports, etc. I'm not sure how people juggle it all and work. Hats off to you! What are your suggestions? I would imagine delegating and preparation are the most important. Right now, my priority is to be prepared for dinner and family time (even if it's brief) all happening early enough so the bedtime routine starts earlier so we're not all rushed. How many of you look at the clock and can't believe the kids finally got down and now it's almost 8:30... or 9pm. It's not enough time for them or for us!
These are basic points for success in many different situations, but seem particularly good to remember during this adjustment for the family. Lately, I've enjoyed adding a few extra resources if people wanna click away and glance. I like reading what teachers had to say about helping your child succeed in this article here. My mom taught school for many, many years. I know she would agree with the majority of this article. I notice getting to school on time and making sure kids are prepared for their day are on that list!
*Please always discuss any supplements with your doctor. Also, to find out more information on these scrumptious chocolates, go to the source: GoodDayChocolate.com