Psychologists say that going back to school is at the top of the stress list for children. And for parents, although it seems that kids being back in school would give us more free time, actually it often feels just the opposite. Coordinating new schedules, school commitments, packing lunches, helping children adjust—it all adds up! So even small steps to simplify our daily routines can help us, and our children, feel more at ease.
Below are the small changes we have been incorporating into our lives to simplify the back-to-school transition:
– Moving more items from our to-do list to our “someday/maybe” list: It’s great that so many of us have high expectations about what we can accomplish in a day, but ultimately it is more self-loving to be realistic about our time. Sometimes we need to accept that we can’t do it all, at least not all at once!
– Making time for self-care: Our friend Dr. James Rouse from Optimum Wellness says, “self-care is self-less service.” We need to first care for ourselves in order to effectively care for our children. On his recommendation we have started getting up earlier to meditate and exercise before beginning the day with the kids.
– Under-schedule: We are intentionally leaving extra room in our schedules to be present for ourselves and our children, as things invariably come up as they adjust to the new school year.
– Spending time outdoors: We are savoring the final days of summer by spending as much time as we can outdoors.
– Clearing our homes: We have been clearing clutter by sorting though outgrown clothes, putting away our summer gear and pulling out the fall clothes and equipment.
– Settling into a rhythm: After the spontaneous energy of summer, a routine is welcome and can be especially grounding for children.
– Using our home as a source of support: even little changes in our home can go a long way to making our routines more graceful. I was dreading making lunch because the lunchboxes and lunch containers were in a hard to reach and low cabinet. Amazing how moving them into a easy to access drawer made making lunches a pleasure. Similarly, going back upstairs to brush teeth after breakfast seemed to make us late- moving an extra toothbrush and toothpaste to the downstairs powder room was all it took to get rid of the rush.
What’s one small change you can you make to simplify your back to school transition?