The schools in the northern Indianapolis area are all back in session, and if you’re like me, you just gave a little sigh of relief. The nice thing about summer is having a more relaxed schedule— not having to rush the kids out the door every morning. However, I think most people—especially children— do well with some structure and routine to their lives.
In my counseling practice in Fishers, I work with moms of all stages— from pregnancy and newborn stages to empty nesting. If you’re in the school-aged phase, this post is for you. Here are some ways to embrace the start of this school year and set yourself—and your whole family— up for success this year.
- Create a system. Think through the most stressful parts of your day. Is it making sure everyone eats breakfast? Getting everyone dressed (and hoping the clothes they want to wear are actually clean?) Managing the bomb of papers that flood your house after school? Whatever it is, pick one problem and work on implementing a system to manage it. Spend some time on the weekend making a big batch of your kids’ favorite muffins or pancakes, then freeze so they can easily reheat for breakfast. Have everyone set out their clothes the night before school. Create a folder system and immediately file (either into a folder or the trash) any papers that come into the house.
- Don’t over-schedule. Remember that the kids have just spent all day in an environment where they had to be on task and conforming to a large group of peers and adults. They need some down time at home to relax, reconnect with you, and play. While extracurricular activities are important, make sure there are also evenings with nothing planned so your family can decompress together.
- Keep the routine. Although it’s tempting to use the weekend to sleep in (if your kids actually do that!), research shows that staying on a consistent sleep schedule (sleep and wake times within 30-60 minutes) will actually help you feel most rested.
- Unplug time. Commit that the first half-hour after kids arrive home will be screen-free… for adults and kids. This is a great time to have a snack, chat about your days, plan for the evening, and touch base about the day’s homework needs. Set the example by putting your own phone in a different room for that 30 minutes so you can really focus on your family.
Does getting back into the school year cause you some stress? If you find yourself struggling with the adjustment, or could use some extra support this year, don’t hesitate to reach out. Even a few counseling sessions can help you feel empowered to make this your best school year yet.