It's amazing that since becoming a parent, I'm back on the "kid calendar." I figured that once I finally finished school, I would be a part of the "grown up" calendar year rather than the "school year" calendar. The beginning of the year would be in January, and the end in December. How simple! Having a school-aged child changes all that.
The best strategy is to prepare. Here are some simple tips:
Make bed time earlier
You can't expect your child to go to sleep an hour earlier the night before school starts. If you start bedtime back by 15 minutes each night over a week, you'll have succeeded in getting back to "school bedtime."
Begin a visual countdown
Excitement might not be what your kids are experiencing. Since many kids do not have a sense of time, it is important to prepare them visually. A calendar where they can check off the days can help (or even just a countdown made of numbers on separate sheets of paper.) Some parents begin counting down in August. Have fun making and decorating your calendar together!
Talk about the change
Taking time to talk about school, what it will be like, and what will be expected of them, will be important. This will give your child an idea of what will be happening, even if they don't quite get when it will happen. This may be especially important for younger kids.
So what does back to school mean for you as a parent?
It means that you will have many more tasks to keep on top of, such as sports, activities, lunches, social life, and homework. Of course, this is on top of all of the things in YOUR life that you need to keep track of already. This is where staying organized can come in handy. My lifesaver is my ical application on my iPhone. I color coordinate everyone's schedules.
Going back to school presents fresh and exciting opportunities for both kids and parents. New teachers don't have pre-existing ideas of who their students are. With the promotion of a new grade, kids have the chance to take on more responsibilities, which can be another opportunity for families. We as parents have the chance to evaluate our parenting strategies, re-calibrate our parenting styles, and continue to strive to become more like the ideal parents that we all want to be.
As you make these new goals, make sure that you are realistic when setting new expectations, incorporate the entire family and obtain their input.
So enjoy the end of summer… school will be here soon with the chance to turn over a new leaf!
Photo by busymommy via Flickr