School is starting, and that means our littles are throwing on their backpacks, putting on their new school shoes, and getting back in the classroom. But once the first week fun wears off, you may find that your kids are totally resisting this whole school thing.
And who could blame them? It's tough going back to sitting and schedules when you've had all that carefree fun during summer! But unfortunately, we are the ones who have to push them out the door (or the car in the drop-off line) to get them there. So the question is...
How do I help my little transition back to school mode?
Here are a few tips that I hope will help make your kids' transition a little less teary for them (and for you) and a little more filled with fun!
Prep for Easy Morning
One of the things that makes littles struggle so much with getting back in the swing of school days is waking up before they're ready, being rushed to eat, dress, and brush their teeth, and hurried out the door to get to class on time. It's stressful for us, which makes our kids resist it even more!
One thing I think mamas can do better than anyone is prep. Prep as much as you can the night before so that you're not stressing and running around and screaming out instructions in the morning. Packing a lunch is a super easy thing to get set up and in the fridge before bed, and will save you tons of time in the mornings. You can also pick out clothes the night before and make sure their shoes are by the door or in the car (and not mysteriously in the backyard under the trampoline).
You can also take advantage of prepping breakfasts for the week on Saturday or Sunday. Bake a batch of muffins and split them up into baggies or containers to grab-and-go, put some overnight oats in the fridge, or cut up some fruit for breakfast so that you're not scrambling eggs while trying to get your kids pants put on the right way.
Being prepared as a mama means you're going to have to be getting up a little bit earlier than you want to too! I know... so unfair. But waking up just a few minutes earlier than normal means that you can get your morning essentials out of the way before your littles are completely driving you nuts because something will always be lost before heading out the door.
The change up from summer is an adjustment, and it can be hard for our littles to understand how to turn their mind into school mode right when school starts. So having a little bit of that summer freedom still in place once school starts will help them to get used to their school day routine a little more easily.
I like the idea of leaving the evenings open to go to the park, watch movies together, play games as a family, or simply veg on the couch for a couple of hours before dinner. There's no reason why they should be forced into a strict routine at home at the exact time their little brains are being pushed to the limit at school.
I do think it's beneficial to make sure that their bedtime routine stays consistent, and earlier than what you probably had going on during the summer months. Make sure they're getting their full 12ish hours of sleep because they really do need to recharge their batteries for the next day.
Give Them Options
Since school is filled with teacher expectations, going from one scheduled activity to another, and following directions and learning all day long about things they didn't decide, giving them options while at home before and after school will help them to feel more in control during the transition.
Even with kids as young as preschool age, you can ask them to make choices about what they want to wear to school, what they want to take for lunch/snack, what to have for breakfast, or what music to listen to in the car on the way to school. Give them little choices that help them control their situation and they'll feel better about being in class all day following someone else's instructions.
Get Them Involved
Since you're going to be doing so much of the prep and hard work to make sure that no one has a mental breakdown the first few weeks of school, you might as well get your littles involved as much as possible.
If you're making their lunch before starting bedtime routine, get their stool set up at the counter and let them help! They can put crackers in a bag (almost) as good as you can, and they'll like getting to help you with something! Let them make choices between this fruit or that fruit, this type of chips or these crackers, and they'll learn how to put together a lunch by helping. Plus it will make them more excited about their lunch and (probably) get them to actually eat it once they're at school.
I also think our littles will have an easier time of school starting if they know what's going to happen ahead of time, so preparing your child for things like following directions from their teacher, circle time, walking single-file, and raising their hand when they have a question are going to make the transition easier on them once they start! You can do little things every day to play "pretend school" for a couple minutes a day and they'll like the one-on-one playtime with you and they'll learn their school manners at the same time!