Now that Labor Day has come and gone, so has summer vacation. Some moms may be rejoicing, but for most of us it can be difficult. It’s always bittersweet seeing my son get on the bus on the first day of school. It’s also very stressful. On top of your career, business travel, and the out-of-school activities your kids have been participating in throughout the summer, you now have to worry about getting your kids up and ready for school, as well as making sure that they do homework and keep the house clean.
It’s no easy task.
However, here are five ways that you can make the new school is a little less frantic.
1. Get back to a routine.
I remember growing up my mom would make my siblings and I get back to a bedtime routine the week before the school year started. We weren’t happy about it. But as a mom I can see why.
Summers can be crazy. Between vacations, camp, and less structure, you and your children’s routines aren’t exactly “normal.” That’s why when the school years starts it can be struggle. Your kids want to stay-up later and have trouble waking-up early. Getting everyone in your household back to a set schedule is key since it provides a sense of normalcy.
Besides establishing bedtimes, you should also create a family calendar that contains your schedule, as well as your children’s school and extracurricular activities. This way your entire family is aware of each other’s schedule and is on the same page.
2. Make after school hours a little less hectic.
Speaking of routines, you also need to have a routine for your children when they get home from school. This can be challenge when you’re still at work, but the kids are home from school. If your kids had it their way they would spend this time playing outside or getting sucked into their video games. Next thing you know when you do arrive home, they haven’t done their home or completed any household chores.
There’s no right or wrong way to create an after-school routine, but here’s some suggestions on how to get started;
- Have healthy, protein-rich snacks in your fridge or pantry. Remember, your kids will be hungry when they get home. Give them 15-20 minutes to have a snack and decompress from the school. After their snack, they should start working on their homework or household chores.
- Do not allow your children to watch TV, play video games, or play outside until after dinner — or at least until they’ve finished their homework or chores.
- Ask your kids to empty their backpacks as soon as they get home. When you come home you can then see if there is anything for you to sign or any relevant information you should know. The last thing you want is to have your child remind you in the morning that there is paperwork for you to sign or that they have to bring-in a treat for a school party.
- When you get home from work, stay off your phone or computer so that you can spend quality time with your kids. I go through my emails and plan my schedule for tomorrow after the kids are in bed.
- If your kids are busy after school because they’re playing a sport or involved in another activity, they may not have the time to complete their homework or chores when they get home. You may allow them to use the morning insteads — they may just have to wake-up a little earlier.
3. Use your weekends productively.
As a working mom, you may not have the luxury to relax during the weekends. Between chauffeuring your kids around and trying to fit-in quality time with your spouse, it may be tough to find the time to unwind. Make it a point to practice some health care during the weekend, which could be anything from reading, exercising, or shopping.
You could also spend your Sundays preparing for the work. Usually on Sundays is when we catch-up on laundry and go to the grocery. This way we don’t have to worry about these chores or errands during the week. You may also want to prep everyone’s clothes and meals for the week. It may sound like a lot of work, but it makes mornings and evenings less hectic throughout the week.
4. Stay healthy.
With the new school comes new illnesses. While you can’t protect you or children from every nasty bug going around, there are some precautionary measures you can take to lessen the chances of everyone in your home getting sick.
Encourage your kids to wash their hands after they’ve gone to the bathroom and before they eat. Make sure that they get a flu shot. And, make sure that everyone is getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising.
One area that gets overlooked, unfortunately, is stress. If you and your children don’t manage stress it can weaken the immune system and cause other symptoms like insomnia. Create an environment where your children aren’t afraid to come to you with any problems. If they feel overwhelmed, then you may want to discuss lessening their schedule. If they’re getting bullied, then discuss with them ways that they can handle the situation.
5. Connect with other working moms.
Finally, make the time to connect with other working moms. It’s a great way to vent and share survival tips. You may think that you don’t have the availability in your schedule, but you do! When the kids are at football or soccer practice, use this time to talk to another mom. When the kids are asleep, go online and connect with other working moms on sites like Pro Mom Clubs.
I know that’s a shameless plug. But I created this website as a place for hard-working moms to come together and lend support to each other through blog posts and podcasts — which you can enjoy whenever you have the free time. I also want to provide group coaching sessions with Pro Club’s Mom Members to assist them with parenting, professional, and mental health advice.
Do you have any back to school survival tips? If so, let us know all about them by leaving us a comment!