Parenting in 2021
We can all agree that being a parent over the past 18 months has unveiled challenges that we never imagined…
Going back to school in person?
Keeping kiddos home?
Finding the best home-schooling curriculum?
Building a hybrid of all those?
What’s safe for your family?
What’s not safe for your family?
The best choice for your family
Whatever choice you’re making as the new school year approaches, step into the belief that is best for your family. One based on your own family needs and love for your child. You can’t go wrong doing that!
We all know that what works for one family could be a no go for the next. And what is not a great fit for your neighbor, may be perfectly fit for you.
No matter how you are navigating the transition from summer to school year, be confident in the choice you’ve made and start taking steps to set your family up for a successful school year using these back to school tips!
Getting back to a ROUTINE with these back to school tips
The biggest tip for getting back onto a routine is start sooner than later. Whether your kiddos will be virtually learning, going back to the classroom, or a little of both… Start now!
Each year, we are reminded that it takes some time to get back to earlier bedtime and earlier morning, especially with the later sunsets of summer.
It is going to take some time to not watch cartoons for 3 hours each morning and to get clothes picked out and lunches prepared. So, don’t wait — use these back to school tips as soon as possible!
Note that it takes kiddos (young and old) about two weeks to get back into the swing of school. So if the school set up now looks different than “normal” for your littles, be prepared for about three weeks to get things ready to rumble for the coming school year.
Earlier to bed, earlier to rise
If your family has fallen into the habit of staying up a little too late and sleeping in a little too long, welcome to the club! This is quite typical of summer schedule and will require a bit of a schedule change to get “back to school” ready.
If you have more than one week until back to school, take the number of minutes that you need to adjust and divide it by the number of days left of break. Example: Bedtime is currently 10 and needs to be 8:30 (90 minutes) and school is starting in 10 days. 90/10 = 9 minutes earlier each night until the first day of school, and then keep it there for each school night.
If you have less than one week until back to school, try sliding everything (bedtime and wake time) 30 minutes earlier every 2 to 3 days. If your child is currently going to bed at 9:00 and 7:30 is a better fit once school starts back up, let’s make a 30 minute change to 8:30 for 3 nights, then 8:00 for another 3 nights and then finally adjust to the ideal 7:30 bedtime!
Same goes with the later morning rising, in that you will want to wake them 30 minutes earlier every 3 days! Making these changes gradually will prevent a significant sleep-debt and will allow their circadian rhythms to get back in sync. It will also help that in the coming month, the sun will start to set a little bit earlier each night.
Clear out the clutter before heading back to school
This tip might take you by surprise, but as we round the corner back to routine and back to school it is so helpful when the sleep spaces for your family are clutter free. It is pretty typical this time of year to find wet swimsuits hanging on closet doors, toys flung around the bedroom floor, piles of laundry (clean or dirty) in almost every corner and games everywhere!
Before we can expect our families to get back into the routine of school, it is important that we get their spaces organized. A calm, relaxing and inviting sleep space is going to be much more conducive to sleep than one that is chaotic, messy and full of distractions!
Again, starting on this project now will be helpful because it may take a few days to get it all picked up. Consider breaking down the job into a few parts and assigning them per child and per day with a reward for completion!
Before we can have family movie night this weekend, we need Joey to make sure all of the towels are in the washing machine and get that started, and we need Charlotte to get all the art supplies put away where they belong. Then, the following day, assign another (age-appropriate) pick up task to each family member!
They will be shocked to see the floor in their bedroom, and you will be pleasantly surprised how walking into a clean room helps everyone to take a deep breath and prepare for a great night sleep. It’s a win win!
Get those rooms dark
Final tip — in order to allow for the greatest production of melatonin, our sleep hormone, it is important that the spaces that we sleep are DARK! This is a bit tricky with later summer sunsets, so take a few minutes to decide how you’d like to darken up your child’s sleep space. Blackout blinds or curtains can be a huge help, but we can get creative here, too! We love the custom fit options by Blackout EZ and you can use this link to snag a set for yourself!
Tin foil tapped to windows, cardboard in the frame and black garbage bags with painters tape all help to block out the intense summer sun! You can even make a project out of this to get your family to help you out. This won’t be permanent bedroom décor (phew!), but it certainly helps to get them into bed if they aren’t being beamed in the eyes by the summer sun.
Not only does a dark room help with getting to sleep at night, but it also prevents early wakings! We often see early rising increase when daytime schedules change, but don’t worry — we’ve got you covered here with this blog post all about preventing early rising!
Give yourself grace with these back to school tips
We’ve got to remember here that this the past year and a half has been uncharted territory for all of us. We have been home, without school, for months on end, juggling the ups and downs with constantly changing scenarios.
This school year likely looks different than all those past. There is still a lot unknown and plenty of decisions to make… So, give yourself a break! You are doing the very best you can. Your kids know it! And you need to know it, too!
Getting your family back on a routine will help with the transition back to school whether that it in a school classroom, at your kitchen table or a little bit of both!
Cheers to a great school year and cheers to great sleep!
Brittney and the Sleeper Teachers