Move over, summer – a new school year is coming! With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring – and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework make their way into the house. If this sounds like your house, read on for some tips to ease the family back into a schedule.
The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. Use the last two weeks of summer vacation to re-introduce an acceptable bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they will need to rise when school begins.
Don’t neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Make sure each day starts with breakfast. Studies continue to show that jump starting your students’ day with breakfast helps with their alertness and overall focus. Studies also reveal that people who eat breakfast end up consuming fewer calories over the course of a day than someone who skips it. (I will share more about the importance of breakfast in a future column.)
Nothing calms school year chaos better than creating a central calendar. Make sure you include school functions, lunch menus, 4-H meetings, and music lessons and sports practices. Form is less important than function. Whether you choose a paper calendar with large squares or a write on wipe off board, choose a calendar format that works for your family.
Take aim on morning madness. Plan ahead to send your school aged children and yourself out the door in a happy frame of mind. Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children’s clothing the night before. Scan backpacks for missing homework and make sure sports bags and musical instruments are packed and ready to go.
Get organized now for the best school year ever!
Donna Krug is the District Director and Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. One may reach her at 620-793-1910 or email@example.com.