Smoothing the return to school
Transition phases in life are not always easy, and the first day back to school is no different. The first day back can be exciting, stressful and chaotic, yet beautiful. The first day back becomes a memory, formed with the individuals who help make school days happen.
And a lot of people are involved: the students, their parents, the teachers, the folks who hold up a stop sign to safeguard kids while they are crossing. Thankfully, for everybody who takes place in the first day, first week and first month back to school, steps can be taken to minimize the craziness and maximize the memories.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Whether you are a student or a parent/guardian, organization can make getting ready for school less daunting.
Santa Ynez resident Jen Van Schmus, for example, cuts fruits up the night before to make sure that her two sons, sixth-grader Devin and 10th-grader Nolan, eat a nutritious breakfast. Nolan seems to be taking a couple of pages out of his mother’s book regarding organization because the high school sophomore chimed in with great tips for other students.
“Make sure that your backpack, books and everything are ready,” said Nolan. “Double check to make sure you have your homework so you don’t have to call your mom.”
After making sure that meals and backpacks are prepared for the following day, folks should start winding their bodies down for bed. Meditate; take a bath or a shower; read a book; do what you need to do to signal your body that it is time for rest. You should avoid scrolling on your smartphone or tablet, as research has consistently shown that the light electronic screens emit makes falling asleep more difficult.
“At night, light throws the body’s biological clock — the circadian rhythm — out of whack,” according to a Harvard Health Letter. As a result, sleep takes a hit, which will most likely result in grogginess the next day. Avoid such grogginess by setting aside a couple of hours before bedtime for screen-free time.
THE MORNING OF
No matter how busy everybody is in a household, a healthy breakfast should not be missed. Fruits, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs are easy options to fill a child’s tummy, and a filled tummy will help students concentrate in classes.
“Keep breakfast simple,” says Ms. Van Schmus. “Oatmeal, cold cereal, fruits.”
If you prepare the fruits the night before like she does, the morning will go even smoother.
DROP OFF AND PICK UP
With all the students being dropped off or picked up in a parking lot, the traffic within can build up. Avoid stressing out when stuck in such lines by having a playlist ready. The playlist can be musical, an audiobook or a podcast. You could even bond with your child during this time that could otherwise be dreadful by playing games such as “I’m going on a picnic” or “Two truths and one line.”
You could also avoid the main traffic by looking for an alternative dropoff/pickup spot apart from the main one. Ms. Van Schmus, for example, knows multiple locations that she and her sons have coordinated about.
“You strategize whether you’re making a right turn or a left turn, which parking lots have traffic, where the classrooms are located,” said Ms. Van Schmus, who added that she seeks out the locations near the school that are not frequently used by other parents.