As soon as you start seeing and hearing back to school ads everywhere you go, you know that summer break is about to come to an end and a new school year is about to begin. One of the most difficult parts about the end of summer vacation for kids and parents alike is getting back into a normal routine. Kids have to adjust to school life again and parents have to accommodate their kids’ busy schedules, in addition to navigating their own hectic ones.
Settling into a new routine can certainly be challenging and even overwhelming sometimes, especially since there’s still so much uncertainty regarding the 2021 school year. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re flexible and capable of adapting on the fly. So, rather than worrying about things that are out of our control, let’s focus our energy on the things that we can change. By coming up with a plan ahead of time, we’ll be able to ease back into our everyday life with a consistent routine, and maybe even create some new healthy habits along the way.
5 Ways To Ease Back Into A Routine After Summer
1. First Decide What Needs To Be In Your Routine
Deciding what needs to be in your routine may sound obvious, but have you taken the time to really think about the healthy habits that you want to become part of your family’s new routine? The only way you’ll be able to have everyone go to sleep and wake up earlier, eat healthier, or exercise as a family a few times each week is if you come up with a plan to accomplish these goals ahead of time and then follow through.
While you might have a number of goals that you’d like you and your family to achieve, focus on one or two goals at first. Once they become healthy habits that are part of your regular routine, then you can add your other goals into the mix one at a time.
2. Create A Consistent Bedtime Routine (Before The School Year Starts)
We all know that change takes time. So, rather than expecting your children to wake up early for school after sleeping in all summer long, create a consistent bedtime routine for your kids at least a week before the school year starts. You can even start waking your kids up earlier and earlier by 10 minutes every few days until you reach a realistic wake-up time for school. This type of gradual shift is the key to a smooth transition.
And if your kids fight you on this new earlier bedtime, or the time that they need to shut down their computer, stop watching TV, or playing video games by, call a family meeting to explain the importance of sleep nutrition to your children, and let them know that the new sleep schedule is designed to help them feel good while they’re at school. Practice what you preach and prioritize your own sleep hygiene, as well. After all, you’re going to be the one waking them up and making them a healthy breakfast each morning. And to save yourself lots of time and stress in the morning, consider setting up for breakfast before you go to bed.
3. Start Meal Planning
During the summer months, it’s usually easier to grab food on the go or eat a late dinner here and there. But that’s not really an option during the school year. Luckily, there’s meal prep to the rescue!
Set aside an hour or two each weekend to create a menu for the week. Then once you know what you’ll be making for dinner, you can write a grocery list and go food shopping. You can also meal prep your children’s school lunches for the week. Just pick a main meal for lunch each day, then prep or buy sides to use all week long. You can also get your kids in on the meal prep fun, allowing them to cook with you and assemble their own lunch boxes.
4. Go School Supply Shopping With The Whole Family
While your kids need school supplies for the classroom, you should consider buying a big calendar or a daily planner for the whole family. Then include your children’s class schedules and after-school activities, your work schedule, and any upcoming family commitments that you have. By knowing what your family’s schedule looks like ahead of time, you’ll be able to better prepare for what’s to come with a whole lot less stress.
And since you want to get your kids into a healthy routine, it’s also a good idea to set a family dinner time and write down what’s for dinner each night on the calendar to get your family excited for the meal.
5. Make It Fun
Nobody likes to do chores, but it usually does feel pretty good after you complete the tasks, right? So, apply that same logic to your new routine. Instead of just doing these new healthy habits because you feel like you have to, what if you and your family reframed the way that you think about it?
You can also do something like take your children to the movies if they go to bed early and wake up for school without any issues for two weeks straight. Or let them pick what’s for dinner one night if they get all of their homework done when they’re supposed to. By rewarding your children for a job well-done, they’ll have added incentive to make this new family routine a regular one moving forward.