It’s mid-August and the air is filled with that special mixture of humidity, excitement and dread. Yeah, smells like back-to-school. There’s the excitement of a new school year, new school clothes, and new teachers and friends. And then there’s the dread of getting up earlier, getting out of the house without a meltdown, and getting to school on time.
This time of year can be hectic, but there are ways to get you and your kids through it. And since this is a military town, I thought it might be appropriate to offer up some boot camp inspired suggestions to get your recruits up and out of the barracks and ready for school.
I’m Your C.O. & I’m Here to Help
Granted, this probably isn’t the type of introduction that most soldiers-in-training receive from their commanding officer, but I think it’s a nice approach when it comes to establishing rules and schedules for the new school year.
- Before school even starts, think about what time you really need to leave for school in the morning.
- How much time will you allow for TV/computer after homework is done?
- How will extracurricular activities affect your schedules?
- What expectations do you have about your kids helping out with household chores?
Address these things with your kids, rather than just shoving a list at them. It gives them ownership and hopefully, sets the foundation for good communication.
Rather than physical training, I like think to this stands for “Prepare thyself.” Preparation is probably the most important component of a successful transition back to school. Some tried and true tips are laying out clothes, making lunches, and packing backpacks the night before. Sometimes I even prep breakfast at night by pouring the cereal in a bowl and covering it with cellophane, boiling an egg, or just putting the Nutella out on the counter. Any little thing that helps save time in the morning is a plus.
And a week or so before school, start moving you child’s bedtime back by 5 or 10 minutes each night. It’s kinda like training your baby to sleep in his own crib, except without all the crying… maybe. You may also want to scale back on TV or computer time right before bed, as well as the snacks that go with them. And hey, why not add a little physical training to the mix? Exercise will help them sleep better and it’s good for their emotional well-being, too.
I know there are lots of parents who struggle with getting their school-age children to rise and shine. I was one of them… until last year. That’s when I had the ingenious, yet totally obvious idea to get my daughter an alarm clock. But not just any old alarm clock, oh no, a Hello Kitty alarm clock. That was all the motivation Gabby needed. Getting your K-5 kiddo their very own alarm clock makes them feel grown-up. And it can also serve as a measure of accountability. Just make sure they know how to set it themselves and give them the responsibility of setting it every night. Now, this may not do the trick for your middle or high schoolers, so for them, I say break out the bugle. Just kidding.
Roll Call & Drill
Roll Call isn’t just about making sure that everyone is present and accounted for, but everyTHING as well. Whether you’ve prepared the night before or not, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of things to be done or items needed to get ready for school, and put your little ones in charge of it. An inexpensive dry erase board placed in a prominent and easy to reach location will do just fine. That way, adjustments can be made quickly and easily.
And go ahead and have a few drills on the days leading up to the first day of school. Make them fun, add some music, and go full out! Have a little friendly competition between siblings to see who can get ready the fastest, or if you have an only like me, see if she can beat her best time.
These are just a few of my ideas, but I know we’ve got some really savvy RCM readers, including some military moms with a few tricks up their sleeves. So tell me, how do you get your little soldiers ready for back-to-school?