"There is a time
for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"
(Ecclesiastes 3:1) and now it is time to go back to school! Remember the routines we gladly let fall by the wayside at the end of the school year? It is important we pick them back up or maybe, in some cases, implement new and improved routines to ensure smooth transitions for our families and success for our children.
Begin each day:
. Establish a bedtime routine that works for your family: who takes a bath first, who is going to read the bedtime story, what time is lights out? It may make for a calmer morning if decisions are made the night before about what to wear the next day.
. Begin the school day with a healthy breakfast together. Set the tone - calm, prepared and excited to face a new day. Does the classroom schedule include a morning snack time? What's for lunch? Have a conversation with your kids about what they want to eat for snack and lunch. Let them help pick out the food or pack their own lunch. Your idea of a great lunch may not be their idea of a great lunch; it may go uneaten or get thrown away.
. Whether it is the first day of kindergarten, or third grade at the same school as last year or middle school or high school, it is a new beginning with lots of unknowns. And unknowns can be anxiety provoking for you and for your children. Talk about the first day of school. Tour the campus. Practice driving the route to school; where is drop-off, pick-up? Attend "Meet the Teacher;" find out what is the best way to communicate with the teacher. Friends help ease anxiety; check-in with parents of your children's friends to see if they will be classmates. Shop for school supplies together; buy the necessities and splurge on a fun pencil box or a "cool" notebook and brainstorm what the new assignments might be.
And at the end of the day, take time to share highlights of each other's day. "What did you learn today" often gets answered with "nothing." Start a new tradition: "Share a high and a low for today" and you go first! Breathe in patience, exhale understanding. Enjoy the school year - highs and lows - because that is the season we are in.
~Sharon Darin, Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern