Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to School for the Modern Family

Let's face it - life is hectic for families these days. For families with school-age children, life can be particularly challenging. During the school year families must manage to juggle before school childcare, after school childcare, homework, sports, extra-curricular activities, school fundraisers, PTA meetings, volunteering at school events, plays, concerts, field trips, parent-teacher conferences, book bags stuffed with papers, report cards to return, daily agenda books needing signed, and the list goes on and on.

Keeping up with life during the school year can be particularly challenging if both parents work, like in my family. When school gets out for the summer it's not just the children breathing a sigh of relief. My husband and I were counting down the days as the end of the 2009-2010 school year approached. Since then we've settled into our summer routine.

As a busy, modern-day, mom who tries to juggle it all, I greatly appreciate the respite that the slower, summer pace provides. No book bags to cart back and forth, no homework to review, and my children read for fun and not because their agenda book says they have to read for twenty minutes. Leisurely summer evenings sitting on the deck are the perfect medicine to call the craziness that the school year entails.

Alas, this summer is quickly drawing to an end, and it's time for my family to start gearing up for another hectic year. Do not despair, because there is hope in managing the madness! Below are several strategies, that when implemented correctly, can help parents to minimize the chaos that goes along with a new academic year.

Routines, Routines, Routines! Set up routines for homework, dinner time, and bed time and watch your children thrive.

Get Enough Sleep! Both children and parents will benefit immensely from a good seven - nine hours. This will also minimize the "morning grouchies" for the entire family!

Plan Ahead! Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today. By completing chores such as packing school lunches, unloading the dishwasher, and setting out clothes the night before; parents can save time and reduce stress during their morning rush.

Be a Good Gookkeeper! For a busy family, it is imperative to keep a schedule or a planner. Whether mom keeps a calendar tucked away in her purse or dad had the family's schedule programmed into his phone, being a good bookkeeper will do wonders for your sanity.

Know Your Limits! As parents we want our children to have every opportunity in the world, but over scheduling every waking second of your children's lives will be stressful for them and stressful for you! Limit the extra-curricular activities and events to a manageable level.

By utilizing these suggestions, you can get the 2010 - 2011 school year started off on the right foot. Tell  your children now that this school yer will involve some changes in your house. And, then, let the fun begin!


Devan @ Accustomed Chaos said...

My son is starting school this September - i am all sorts of nervous and don't really know what to expect. thanks for the tips! I will need some serious holding in a few weeks :) {even though he is only going 2-3x a week ha}

~*Jess*~ said...

We are trying to work on our schedule right now. We will both have to be leaving earlier to get to school/work on time (we're now riding together all the way to the office yay!!) so that'll be an adjustment to bedtimes too.

Mandy said...

Great tips! Our kids go back in 2 weeks, but we're already trying to wean them off the summer bedtime/wake up schedule and ate trying to slowly acclimate them to earlier times for both, especially since our school system decided to start school 10 minutes earlier! 7:50 start time. Whoever heard of that?!

julie said...

Great tips, even though this is only the second time in my whole life that I haven't had to get ready to school! :)

New Breed Mama said...

Devan - I'm sure you are nervous! It's hard when our little ones start school! Children transition more easily when their parent have a positive attitude and help encourage them by telling them how fun it will be!

Jess - Scheduling is a chore in and of itself! The hubs goes to work earlier than I do and I drop the kiddos off at school on my way to work. That seems to work best for us. Good job planning ahead! :)

Mandy - Sounds like you are on top of it! That is great! It helps the adjust so much when they are already in the routine of getting up early before school starts!

Julie - You have a little guy right? Love him and cuddle him because time flies and soon you'll be preparing for his first day of school!

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