It’s back to school time! Or, maybe, to school for the first time! Maybe your sweet baby 3 year old is off to a new preschool program! It’s a bittersweet time – with a little worry, lots of hope for a great year, and a couple of good shakeups of changing routines! It will take a couple of weeks for everything to settle down, but with a little planning, you can make the transition easier, or wrangle in the out of control craziness (it happens to the best of us)!
Prep in the Evenings
Prep for the morning the night before – the idea is to have as little to do in the morning as possible.
Lay out breakfast dishes and materials
Go through the backpack – read and sign anything that needs attention and put everything back in the backpack before going to bed
Lay out clothes for yourself and your child/children before bed
Pack lunch or snack if needed the night before – you might even make a lot of lunches/snacks on Sunday evening, to last the week!
Get the bedtime routine down pat, and get to bed early enough!
–Supper, play, bath, jammies, story, night night–
The National Sleep Foundation recommends children aged 3-5 get a total of 11-13 hours of sleep per 24 hours – with some children doing well with only 8 hours and some needing as much as 14! Get to bed early and give your child a chance to sleep until fully rested.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. Try to keep your routine the same each night and do things around the same time. Talk to your doctor if your child snores, or is having a lot of trouble sleeping, even after a couple of weeks keeping the routine.
Support circadian rhythms. Get some sunshine early in the morning, right after waking. Also, consider limiting screen time to before the dinner and bedtime routine starts – or find a way to block the blue light from screens that tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime.
For PCs, Macs, iphone/ipad, and Android devices, you can install f.lux, which automatically dims the screen at sundown, the new versions of iOS offer a setting that does the same.
Rock the mornings
Plan to wake up before your child, so that you have time to get yourself ready and have a little quiet time before they wake up. Hopefully there isn’t a lot to do that requires much brain power, if you planned well the night before. Just take a moment and savor that cup of coffee! When your child wakes, follow your routine for getting dressed, breakfast, and out the door to another great day at school!
Connect with the Teacher
If you can, try to attend any meet the teacher type events – if you are not able to and there is a time that is better for you, ask if the teacher would be able to meet you at that time.
Use your child’s folder. Most schools/teachers designate a folder for each child where announcements and homework are sent back and forth from school and home. Write a note to the teacher here if needed.
Also, check in through email. Maybe once a month or every six weeks or so, just send a friendly email to keep in touch with the teacher and let her know that you appreciate all that she is doing for your child. You might share a few new things your child is doing at home, as well as any concerns you have. Your teacher will appreciate your involvement!
We hope you have a fantastic school year!