School starts for my children next Wednesday, so this is the last week of summer vacation for us! It definitely went by too quickly this year, and I’m in full on back to school mode: gathering new supplies, transitioning the kids to earlier bedtimes, and meditating (that one is for me). While I do look forward to getting back to the routine that school days impose on our family, I know that the beginning of the year is an opportunity for us set the tone for that routine, so I’ve been feeling the pressure to do it right.
Fortunately, I can reassure myself, this is my 6th year as a parent of school aged kids (if you count Kyle’s one year of preschool). I’ve picked up a few survival tactics along the way that have worked for us. I will be preparing these tools (and my mindset) during this last week of freedom, and I’d like to share them with you.
5 Tips For Starting the New School Year Off on the Right Foot
Ritual is very important for our family. We operate much more smoothly when the same things happen at the same-ish time every day. But above and beyond the daily wake-up time, the morning routine, and the bike ride to school, there are other less frequent rituals we engage in to mark the passage of time. For example, one of my favorite new traditions is a special family dinner the night before the first day of school. We live about 20 minutes’ drive from the beach in Malibu California. Our favorite family spot out there is called Neptune’s Net. It’s a greasy shack by the beach filled with bikers, beach people, and tourists. We drive out there before sunset, order a meal of cheeseburgers and fries, and top it off with ice cream cones for the kids. Then we take a short walk on the beach at sunset, and that’s the end of summer. Sad, a little, but it also marks a new beginning.
Bonus: breathe and roll with it. As with anything parenting related, once you get a system in place and you think you’re golden, something will change: your kid’s attitude, the school’s personnel or process, your own availability, whatever. The Universe has a way of messing with you once you settle down and think you’re getting good at this. So take a deep breath, count your lucky stars, and be flexible.
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