If your family is anything like mine, then the word “routine” has not been in your vocabulary for the last few months. Sure, we’ve still set alarms (sometimes) and had plenty of to-do lists, but the structure that’s about to occur can easily cause an uproar if we’re not prepared. While I’m not quite ready to give up the relaxed feeling of summer, I know it’s bound to happen and I want to make it as easy on my family as possible. Hopefully these ideas will help your family get back into a routine and make it an enjoyable time for everyone.
Whether you are ready to push your kids out the door or wish summer was year round, it’s so important to stay positive. Children sense our anxiety and negativity and the transition from summer to the school year is filled with enough of that for them. Talk about the friends they will see and make, shop for a new outfit for the first day and remind them that the fun doesn’t end just because school is starting. Set an example of positivity and confidence for them to follow.
Make small adjustments
Is bedtime at 9pm now? Well, don’t wait until the night before school starts to change it to 7:30. You’ve probably already thought through bedtime and have made small adjustments, but there are other things to consider. If you know when your child will be eating lunch (some eat as early as 10:30), start shifting lunchtime so they have time to get used to it. If they need to start getting up early, get them up to do something fun so it’s not a total struggle. If they are going from days filled with physical activity straight to the classroom, try a back to school craft or make a summer scrapbook so they can practice focusing for longer periods of time. Their teachers will thank you!
Create a visual routine
Visit Pinterest and type in “visual routine chart.” These are especially helpful for young children, but everyone can benefit. I may even make one for myself! There are plenty of resources to print off already made ones, or you can work with the kids to create their own. By making this before the new routine begins, your family will already know the new expectations and it will ease the inevitable anxiety that comes along with change.
Keep a bit of summer going
It’s still hot out, some pools are still open and we haven’t hit up the pumpkin patches just yet. Your new routine will likely begin while summer is still going strong, so why not hang on to it for a bit? Celebrate the completion of the first homework assignment with a run through the sprinkler and popsicles. Plan a weekend visit to a splash park and enjoy the last of the warm days. And if you’re done with summer and ready for fall, I’d suggest homemade pumpkin ice cream as a compromise!
Make fun fall plans
It’s always nice to have something to look forward to, especially when something fun is ending. As summer ends, share your favorite fall activities and decide as a family what you’d like to plan. Pretty soon, the kids will move past swimming and roller coasters and focus on hayrides and trick-or-treating.
By the time August hits, many are ready to get back into a routine. The transition can be easy for some, but for so many families it’s a struggle. These tips can help your family adjust to the new norm and welcome a new season with less stress and more fun!
A native Cincinnatian, Andrea has experienced life in all four corners of this city. After growing up on the west side, she headed north to attend Miami University, then moved east to Hyde Park and now lives in Northern Kentucky with her family.
When she’s not playing trains and doing the “hot dog dance” as a stay-at-home mom to her two toddlers, Andrea is busy writing for Cincinnati publications and sites. With a newfound passion for fitness and overall health, she spends a lot of time at her family gym and loves to play outside.
Andrea worked in education for several years and has a special love for children’s literature. She loves showing her children all our city has to offer and enjoys sharing her finds with other parents. Her favorite spots include the Cincinnati Zoo (although she steers clear of the bird house), her local library and any playground.