While it seems like kids have no trouble getting into their summer routines of swimming, sleeping in, and playdates with friends, getting back into the swing of things in the fall is a different story. There are many things you can do in the last few weeks of summer to prepare for the switch from the lazy, hazy days of summer to the bustling days of fall.
- Take your kids on some educational day trips. Museums, battlefields, and landmarks are great places to visit that are fun and will also get kids thinking about subjects they may be studying in the coming year. Need some ideas? Check out our blog about being a tourist in upstate New York!
- Schedule annual well-visits. These are NOT the same as sports physicals, or pre-participation evaluations. Annual child well-visits allow your doctor to do a full assessment of your child’s health and wellbeing. This is also a good time to make sure your child is up-to-date on all immunizations they require before entering certain grades.
- Encourage an earlier bedtime. I know, I know, this one is going to be tough! However, it will truly help kids get back in the habit of going to bed sooner and waking up earlier. Don’t go cold turkey – try to get your kids to go to bed even 10-15 minutes earlier over a two-week period until you reach their desired bedtime. Doing quiet activities, like reading before bed, may help kids wind down. Also, see if you can get them to get up at the same time, get dressed, and eat breakfast, so that the evening and morning routines begin to get back on track.
- Designate a homework center. Once kids go back to school, man, do the papers starts flying! Homework sheets, permission slips, calendars, and more, will soon be cluttering your counters and tables if you don’t designate a place for them from the get-go. Get your kids to agree on the place they’ll do their homework nightly, and develop a system for organizing all of the papers that will be coming home.
- Pick-up school supply lists and make a plan for purchasing them. But, before you head out to the store, have your kids check around for pencils, pens, erasers, folders, notebooks, and other supplies they may be able to reuse. This could cut down on your list – and help your budget, too! You can also repurpose plastic tubs into containers you can use to hold supplies in your homework center.
- Work on independent activities. Young kids who have been in small preschools or daycare will be expected to do more on their own than ever before. Be sure they’re prepared for this, by working on things like teaching them to tie their shoes, or practicing writing their name. Nurturing independence will likely set them up for success as they get used to the routine of going to school.
- Set goals for the year ahead. Read 20 books? Maintain a B+ average? Join clubs to explore newfound interest areas? The possibilities are endless when you participate in family goal-setting. Encourage your kids to write their goals down, and check in on them throughout the year. Plan a special surprise for when they meet their very own expectations!
- Go through last year’s clothes. Your kids are likely growing like weeds, so at least a month before school starts, plan to go through their items with them to see what still fits and what needs to be donated or handed down to younger siblings. The same can be done with books. We have compiled a great list of book donation organizations if you’d like to clear out some space to get ready for the coming year! P.S., if your CDPHP® plan includes CDPHP Life Points® Rewards, back-to-school is a great time to cash in your rewards for gift cards at retailers where your kids love to shop!
- Decide on school-year chores. Scheduling who will do what during the year will help kids learn responsibility, while cutting down on what you need to do for them. If you have pets, a great chore is deciding who will feed and/or let them out mornings and evenings. You can also determine who will get the mail, set the dinner table, and clear plates at the end of dinner. Simple other activities include making sure kids unpack their backpacks and lunch boxes immediately after school, and that they return their belongings to their rightful places each night before bed.
- Make family and fitness time a priority. The rush of the school year sometimes makes spending quality time together as a family more challenging. CDPHP has many classes available that are appropriate for families with kids of all ages. Check out our wellness class listing periodically, and plan to participate.
Did we miss one of your favorite activities to help get your kids back on track for the fall? Feel free to comment below! Also, be sure to download our handy back-to-school checklist to keep you on track as September approaches.