I know Summer is ending because all of my favorite Summer TV shows are running their season finales. I can’t deny it any longer, it’s time to go back to school. AHHHHHHHHH! Sure that means shopping for notebooks, pens and paper, but preparing for back to school is not just about buying back to school supplies, there are other things you can do to get yourself and your kids ready for this seasonal transition. Because to be truly ready for the demands of the school year you not only have to have a well packed backpack, but a well packed attitude to boot. I find that to instill a good attitude about the school year my kids require a fresh perspective and a dependable routine. Here are 6 ways that I inspire both.
1. SLAP SOME PAINT ON IT
It’s hard for many kids, (and parents) to get their heads wrapped around going back to school. I know we had an incredibly demanding school year last year. We clawed our way to the end of it. Summer was a welcome relief. But now it’s time to dive back in. All three of my children expressed a desire for a change going into the school year. They wanted their bedrooms to match their personal growth and to signify the new chapters that they would be writing with school and grade changes. We aren’t in a financial position to do anything big, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to do something dramatic. All it takes is a gallon of paint. Well, a gallon of paint and a pint of spackle, some rollers, a tarp and some rags, but still, we are talking a minor investment in the scheme of room remodeling. Color influences mood. Want to change your mood? Change your color. A trip to Home Depot can be a great conversation starter with your child about who believe they are and who they want to be. My youngest chose a deep blue sea color to pay homage to her love of mermaids. My eldest daughter chose dry erase paint so that she can continually express her creative side. While my son went bold with the color FLAME (orange). Because in his words, “He needed a drastic change”. Boy did he get it.
2. BEDDING DOWN
School supplies are on sale, but so is bedding. With many kids heading off to college many of your favorite stores like Target and Kmart have launched sales for bedding especially on hard to find Twin XL bedding. (Being an owner of one such bed I am very happy about that.) It’s a great time to spruce up bedrooms. Grab a new bed in a bag set to compliment your new paint job. Even if you aren’t looking for topside bedding don’t forget the underside. This is also a great time to stock up on those foundations of bedding like mattress pads, allergen protectors, and pillows that can make sleep happier and healthier.
3. WHEN IN DOUBT CHANGE IT OUT
I remember as a kid I would rearrange my furniture a couple of times a year. I liked the change in perspective. Even the smallest of rooms can support a furniture switch-a-roo. In my house we don’t just rearrange furniture in the room we rotate furniture in the house and the storage bin. Occasionally we will add a piece from Craigslist or Ikea, but we work hard to work form within. Saves money and inspires creative thinking. I even get in on the act. But Mommy tends to get the leftovers. Leaves me a little mismatched, but it’s all worth it.
4. STUDY HALL
While you are moving the furniture around don’t forget to create good homework nesting spots. In the Summertime we don’t have to worry about creating space in the house for essay writing, math calculations, or project completion. But as soon as school starts again we have to hunker down and get to work. Keeping children focused and task oriented is hard enough, but if they don’t have a dependable place to work in, homework can become downright impossible.
5. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
All of the room enhancements in the World won’t make up for a lack of sleep though. One of the hardest things about going back to school for my kids is the early wake up call. After a Summer filled with varying start times, waking up every day with the sun can be downright painful. This year is going to be particularly hard because school starts almost an hour earlier for each of my children. That is why at the beginning of this month my kids stopped going to bed late and started waking up earlier….well, at least most nights. It’s a gradual progression. That’s the point. Instead of all of a sudden waking up one morning to a new and ill-fitting routine, we are taking the month to get comfortable. All of us. My schedule is changing too. Those kids don’t wake themselves up on their own you know!
6. JUST EAT IT
I don’t know about you, but breakfast and lunch have kind of elided around here the past couple of months. Oh my kids have been eating, but the meals have sometimes been a little haphazard or delayed, or even elongated. Late dinners, middle of the night snacking. It’s been crazy. School means routine, regiment and repetition. Getting everyone up in the morning is half the battle in your school preparation. Getting them fed wins the war. Kids need fuel for their day, especially during the school year. But a lot of kids complain about eating in the morning. They are still a little sleepy when they get up and don’t really have a taste for anything. You don’t want to send them off to a World of learning without the energy necessary to do so. That’s why, just like with sleep and wake times, I think it is a really good idea to anchor your transition with solid meals and mealtimes. Help train their bodies to not only want food in the morning, but to expect it. Maybe that means you the parent have to get up even earlier, or you ned to pre-prepare something the night before. (My mother used to make Mama McMuffins that we could throw in the microwave, but that’s another post.) Then do the same thing in the evening with dinner if you can. Most importantly don’t allow any of that late night snacking that Summer often inspires. You want their little tummies to be so empty when they wake up that they seek out breakfast instead of you having to force them to eat a bite. Whatever you do do it consistently and persuasively until their inner clock of hunger, and self preservation, kicks in.
Already back to school? Not to worry. You can still employ a number of these ideas to boost your kids; mind, body and soul. Labor Day weekend is coming up. Why not make it a real LABOR day by engaging in DIY projects. But be sure to help your kids stay true to your new sleep and eating schedules though. Don’t let them slide just because it is the weekend. Their bodies don’t know the difference between Saturday and Tuesday, but you will when you can’t get them out of bed and out the door in time for school. Just sayin’.
Now somebody begin the count down to Winter break!
Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista ,ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter , TOUT and LinkedIn.