The KP Been There Done That Squad is a group of parents sharing their thoughts and experiences on a few topics related to raising their children in Kamloops.
Today’s question is:
What are your tips for a smooth transition to a back-to-school routine?
Naomi, mother of four boys, age 11, 5, 2, and 10 months:
My eldest son has high functioning ASD, so a smooth transition back into the school year is essential in order to avoid meltdowns. Although we homeschool, it is basically the same as what we will be doing for the five year old, who is starting kindergarten in public school this year. I really try to maintain similar rhythm and routine through the summer months. It helps children to stay somewhat on schedule. We don’t give them extra TV or computer time for example, and we try to include crafts and learning opportunities so they don’t get out of practice.
We are very gradual in our build up back to a full day. I start off with a week of “warning”. We talk about how things are going to be changing to get back into the swing of things. We post a schedule. The next week we start with the school year routine (early rising, getting dressed on time, etc). The starting week of school we amp up slowly. Day one is an intro with a special breakfast and a cool activity. Day two includes one subject. Day three we add something else. We continue in this manner until we are fully back into routine.
We also love to include lots of visual schedules all over the house to reduce panic over the “unknown”, and help us transition easier. They aren’t fancy, but they are simple reminders, especially for the children who can’t read. These include morning routines, and a daily school schedule.
It’s hard to believe the summer is almost over, but to be honest, getting back into a routine is comforting for me!
Christina, Mom of 4 girls born in 5 years:
1) I made an area to keep track of everything at the main door where we leave the house. There are pockets for each kid to sort notices and homework. It also has a white board for shopping lists and emergency information. A large calendar to record all of our upcoming events (sports, trips, special school days) hangs in the middle low enough for the kids who can read to see, but high enough to keep it from being used as a doodle pad.
2) I’ve decided that I will not be bringing out fall wardrobes until after school starts. In the past few years I have and it’s still warm enough that they want to wear their summer clothes. The extra clothes just add more confusion in picking out outfits and extra laundry chaos.
3) I’ve been baking for easier lunches and breakfasts (loaves and muffins) with in season fruits and veggies from the garden.
Jodi – Mom of 5 & 6 year old:
Of course, our week-long summer holiday fell within the last two weeks before school starts, so we slowly began preparing by mid-summer.
First, I myself started getting up earlier. During the 2014-2015 school year, I found that on days that I got up earlier than the kids were more productive and less stressful.
We also began serving the kids more breakfast and within a half hour of waking. No more grabbing a banana or cookie and playing for a couple of hours before wandering back into the kitchen for breakfast! Same for lunch…this summer, we got into the habit of eating snacks and missing lunch entirely, until 3 o’clock rolled around. So we began preparing lunch around noon.
***Disclaimer: The above all went out the window once we left on a trip, travelling east through several different time zones! But, we tried.
So, in the days leading up to the first day of school, we’ll get the kids back on track with getting up at a reasonable time, eating a big breakfast and serving lunch around noon. Their schoolbags have been labelled, along with their lunch box and re-usable lunch/snack bags. Most of their clothing and both pairs of running shoes have been labelled. They have their own hooks at home to hang up their jackets (only one jacket per season!) and we got a huge shoe rack for the front closet, large enough for all pairs of shoes for the family. This will help in finding shoes quickly, instead of the usual pile that has been kicked into the closet. They also have a special hook in each bedroom for their school bags.
We also rely on our huge white board calendar for schedules and to communicate what needs to be picked up. Like Christina mentioned, it’s low enough so that the kids could read it, but high enough that they do not doodle on it. Most of the time. 🙂