The end of summer can be traumatizing for kids. Heading back to school is the signal that the days of playing outside and staying up late are truly things of the past, at least until next year. The kids are going to try anything and everything in their arsenal of tricks to stay up past their bedtime for one last late night of fun before school takes over their lives in the morning.
Get a Head Start
Before the kids come in for the night, know what you have to get done before they finally turn in for the night. Know which kid is first in line for taking a bath, and have a list of the chores ready as they walk in the door. Keeping them busy will not only tire them out but will also distract them from finding ways to drive you crazy with the mantra of “just another 15 minutes”. Make a list if you have to and then stick to it.
Have Dinner Ready Early
Have dinner ready and on the table when the kids first come inside. It can be difficult to get everyone in the house at the same time for a meal. The night before the first day of school is a good time to start. Talk about your plans for the school year, and make plans to spend time together at least once a week. Having dinner early gives the kids a chance to begin settling into a new routine and also helps them to settle down a little before getting in the shower and heading to bed.
Have a Family Meeting
If not everyone can make dinner, have an impromptu family meeting when all the kids are finally in the house. Let them know what you expect of them and ask them what you can do to help them get into the swing of things for the next year. Set some ground rules, and make plans to share some fun activities if everyone cooperates. Have fun being a family. These years go by way too fast.
Get Things Ready the Night Before
Once the kids have finished their baths or showers, have them get everything ready for the next morning. Backpacks should be packed and ready to go. Outfits should be gotten out and set on the dresser, ready to be put on. Have everyone make sure their alarms are set and that all of their chores are done at least 15 minutes before bedtime. This gives them a little time to relax before they turn the lights out.
While it is inevitable that there will be a glitch or two, take them in stride and keep moving forward. Make sure the kids stay on task. Try to get as much done before bedtime as possible. With everything being completed the night before, the morning won’t be so rushed and the kids won’t be stressed or upset for their first day of school.