Summer vacation is just about over and it’s time for me to face the bitter truth: I have to get my daughter ready for the school year. It’s a process and it definitely isn’t easy, but in the long run, it makes your life as a parent so much easier.
My first tip is to focus on getting your child on a school schedule a week or two before school starts. Since most kids aren’t going to bed as early and their days aren’t as structured throughout the summer, transitioning into the school year schedule can be tough. If your child is going to bed late, start by putting them to bed 30 minutes earlier each day until you get to the time you want them to fall asleep during the school year. So if your child is going to bed at 10, put him or her to bed at 9:30 the first day, 9 the next day, 8:30 the next day, 8:00 the next day, and earlier if you need to.
To help figure out what time your kid should be in bed, keep in mind children under the age of 3 need at least 12-14 hours of sleep and children over the age of 3 need at least 10-12 hours of sleep.
My daughter is 7 years old and entering the 2nd grade so I like to tuck her into bed no later than 8:00 PM so I can make sure she gets at least 11 hours of sleep. Being in elementary school is tough and their little brains have a lot of work to do. Making sure she gets enough sleep helps her excel and focus the next day.
For moms who work or go to school, it can sometimes feel like the only time you get with your children is during the few hours in the evening. I know how that feels because I get home at 6:00 and she goes to bed at 8:00. There are a couple of ways I keep our relationship strong throughout the school year and maximize our time together:
- I let her help me plan the dinner menu for the week every Sunday. We sit down and write out what we will eat everyday so we don’t waste time on weekdays trying to come to an agreement. My daughter feels so proud when she sees that our dinner plan was designed by her and rarely complains about dinner anymore.
- My daughter likes cooking so when it’s time to make dinner, I give her some responsibilities to help me with in the kitchen. But if your kid is too small or not interested in cooking, it’s an awesome time for them to be in the kitchen working on an art project or “pretend” cooking some awesome concoction.
- I read with her every night and tuck her into bed. It’s important that she reads and I enjoy being a part of that. And since she loves reading with me, it’s an awesome way to encourage her to get into bed. We read after pajamas are on, teeth are brushed, and her little body is under the covers.
Now I realize this will not work for every parent and child but I thought I’d share what works for me. Do you have any back-to-school tips for young parents?