Back-to-school season is just around the corner, and for many families, that means the chaotic transition from summer break to the fall semester is about to begin. For most parents, getting kids ready for school can be time-consuming and exhausting, resulting in added frustration and extra work onto an already-full plate. The award-winning Time Timer ® can help you reign in your anxiety about back to school season and make a plan.
One of the number one complaints we hear from parents during back-to-school season is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. But with planning and consideration, you can make the most out of your days leading up to and after the first day of school and then send your kids to school feeling prepared and ready to take on the school year.
Get your family ready for the new school year, drama-free, with these five easy steps:
1. Start a routine in the weeks leading up to the first day of school, and get the whole family into a sleep routine. Kids who have a regular routine at home are more emotionally stable and are able to thrive in the classroom, according to recent studies. Getting everyone -- parents included-- on a regular sleep schedule is one of the keys to helping everyone feel rested and prepared to take on their day, and is an important factor in establishing the rest of the day’s routine. If your child is throwing a tantrum because they are sleepy, it can wreak havoc on the rest of the day’s routine.
However, parents should not wait until the night before the first day of school to implement a weeknight routine. Set a strict schedule and begin enforcing it at least two weeks before the first day of school.
2. Turn off TV and computers and connect. Summer used to be dominated by bike rides and playing outside, but in today’s virtual landscape, summer is prime time for screen usage in kids and teens. Spending the week before school starts reconnecting with each other will give kids the opportunity to share any anxieties that they are having with you, and will give you a chance to make sure your kids are in the right headspace before starting their first day. Never underestimate the power of a clear mind.
3. Use a Time Timer to shake first day jitters. Part of the anxiety (for both kids and parents) surrounding the first day of school itself comes from not knowing what is going to be thrown at you. But, taking your day and dividing it into smaller, manageable chunks can help both you and your kids feel more in control and will help establish a comfortable routine. Set a timer to alert your kids 10 minutes before their bus arrives. Being able to see the time ticking down will help them understand how to budget their time in the morning. If you have a teen who is allowed to use their phone in school, download the Time Timer app and encourage them to use it to take five-minute breathing breaks to re-center themselves and focus. Using the Time Timer will help your family establish routines, which will help them ease into the school year with less anxiety.
4.Spend every evening together with a book. The first few weeks of school can challenge your child both physically and intellectually. To combat the fatigue that is sure to set in while encouraging them to learn, spend 30-minutes reading together in the evenings. Not only will you and your kids be able to sharpen their reading skills during this time, but the quiet moments will better prepare them for another day of learning.
5. Plan for the worst, but hope for the best. While you can plan for a seamless transition into the new school year, it might not always go that way. To take a little bit of stress off of your plate when things DO inevitably change, be sure to have a backup plan in place. For example, if you plan to drive the kids to school for their first day, leave a little early. If you plan to snap a few photos in their first-day-of-school clothes, pad in an extra 10 minutes for crankiness and temper tantrums. If you work during the day, be sure to have someone ready in case your child becomes sick. You may not want to have to use your backup plan, but you will transition into the school year without major hiccups with a little bit of extra planning.
The Time Timer PLUS ® can help you conquer back to school season, and is available in 5, 20, 60, and 120-minute increments. The PLUS is a winner of the Teacher’s Choice Award and Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence Seal of Approval. Specialists and professionals who work with children recommend the Time Timer to help ease transitions and understand time visually, without needing to tell time.