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Do your kids suffer from the Back to School Blues? Mine do! Sure they are excited to meet their teacher and see their friends, but they also don’t want to give up the freedom that Summer allows. Summer is for flexible schedules, fun activities and staying up late. Once they go back to school, the kids have to deal with homework, routine, and stricter bedtimes. That’s enough to make any kid a little sad that school is starting again. Today, I’m sharing 5 tips on how you can help your kids beat the back to school blues.
Getting back into the school routine is tough for kids who are used to playing all Summer long. My boys are usually exhausted after the first few days of school, and I also find that they are very hungry!
My boys like school, so usually I don’t hear too much complaining. Sometimes, I have to deal with tears from my youngest son about him missing me all day because school is just too long! Or whining from my oldest son about how much homework he has to do every night.
In an effort to make the back to school transition as easy as possible for my kids, I like to make some changes to our lazy Summer day a couple weeks before school actually begins.
5 Tips to Help Kids with Back to School
1) Early to Bed and Early to Rise
During the school year, I am really strict about my kids bedtime. Of course the older they get the later they are allowed to stay up. But no matter what, when bedtime rolls around it’s lights out in this house. I’m not sure why I am such a stickler for sleep, but I have a feeling it comes from my reading the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when my boys were born. As a new mom did you read that one too?
On some nights over the Summer, I let my boys stay up later than their usual school bedtime. Although they will argue that it’s not late enough!
A couple weeks before school starts, I make the boys start going to bed earlier at their regular school bedtime. Of course, it takes a while for them to get used to going to bed early again, and I usually hear lots of complaining. In order to help them fall asleep earlier, sometimes I have to wake them up in the morning. Yes this is the worst part of helping my kids get back to their school routine. I like to sleep late too. But to make life easier in the long run, I just set the alarm and start getting into the routine. I don’t go right into the 6 am wake up call, but slowly just get up 10-15 minutes earlier each day until we reach the correct time.
I know this is a hard one moms, but I promise it will help your kids when they get back to school!
2) Change Meal Times
While we are on the subject of adjusting the kid’s routines for school preparation, I also like to make changes to our meal times. Summer is nice because we get up whenever, eat breakfast whenever, lunch is on the go, and dinner is usually later. Oh the joys of flexibility!
Once school starts, my kids find it difficult to eat breakfast at 6:30 in the morning. Then, they are starving by lunch time at school. Plus, using all that brain power makes them hungry again when they get home. Is this just my growing boys? Or are girls that way too?
To help the kids adjust, I try to get them to eat something at the times when they would be eating had they gone to school that day.
3) Make Them Bored
Once we get close to the start of school, I stop planning daily activities and fun ideas for the kids. I just let them hang out at home. I make them use their brains and imaginations to stay entertained. A task that is much easier for my younger son. Most days, I listen to several rounds of “I’m bored” and “Can we do something today?” But I stay strong, even though secretly I’m going stir crazy myself!
I often point out to the boys that they won’t be bored any more once school starts. I try to get them excited and ready for their new daily routine. Some days this works, and others not so much!
4) Less Video Games and More Brain Activities
As much as I hate to admit it, my boys play too many video games over the Summer. I let them get away with it because I need a break too. There is only so much fun in the sun this mom can take:) But I tell myself, it’s ok because the boys are still playing outside, using their toys, and going out of the house with me. They aren’t sitting home all day in front of the TV. So it’s ok right?
A few weeks before school starts, I begin to limit the video game time, which gets hard when we are stuck in the house bored. But to fill the time, I start encouraging the kids to read more. My boys have always been big readers at bedtime, but in preparation for school, I like to have them start reading during the day.
Also to help ease the video game withdrawals, I let the boys practice their math skills on the computer or iPad. This way they feel like they are still hooked up to technology, and I feel like they are learning. Win-Win!
5) Back to School Books
A few days before school starts, I read the boys books about going to school. I think it helps them realize that they aren’t the only ones dealing with a major change in their daily life. Children’s books that the kids can relate to definitely help with the adjustment, especially if you have a kindergartener. Some of my family’s favorites are Curious George’s First Day of School, The Kissing Hand, and Back to School Weird Kids Rule. My oldest son has been listening to these books for years now, but I think the annual routine still helps bring comfort to a new situation no matter how old he gets.
The back to school blues are common for most children (and some moms too), so it’s important that we try to help our kids as best we can to become adjusted to their new routine. As much as I love lazy Summer days, my boys really do thrive on regular routine that they can rely on.
Change is hard no matter how old they get.
Happy First Day of School!