And So It Begins

The beginning of the new school year always seems to sneak up on us. As children, we reveled in newly sharpened pencils, blank notebooks, and dividers ready to be labeled. Now, as parents of school-age children, we still revel in the newness. And as always, this time of year feels intense. We’re not crazy; there are a lot of tasks that require our time and attention. The start of a new school year is chaotic, but The Arena App can help you manage some of the stressors so that you can focus more on the things that matter, like helping your child manage their own stress about starting a new grade (or a new school).

As you get into back to school mode, do you start to feel like a new school year is more of a new year than the actual new year? {Deep breath} You get ready to start new grades with new routines, new chores (!), new calendars, and of course, new supplies. And all of this becomes super doable with Arena’s pre-populated checklist, “Prepare for Back to School.”

It’s also important to remember that the new school year is big for you (the parent) as well. Work stress can add to the chaos of a new school year. Projects tend to get pushed back in order to fit in doctor’s appointments, haircuts, early pickups, soccer practice, and piano lessons. And then there’s the paperwork! The amount of forms cascading out of your child’s backpack in the first week of school seems never-ending; some of it you have to sign and return, some of it you just have to keep up with, and some of it is just nonsense to test whether you read everything or not! Whew! How do we even manage this busy period?!

Fun for the Whole Family

The start of a new school year can be exciting, stressful, and taxing for everyone. Yes, we’re including the WHOLE family. One coping strategy is to take some time every night to wind down with a book (or two, or three…). Teachers will applaud the reading aloud (even to older kids!) and you get to be present for whatever they’re ready to share.

Some stressors at the beginning of the school year come from all the new activities vying for your time: volunteer opportunities, practices, activities, and the return of homework – it’s a constant battle to fit all the responsibilities into a single week (or day!). Keeping track of everything can be especially daunting if you don’t have a good system to get things off your mind and into action. 

However, if you do have a system in place and you have already entered all the relevant schedules and games, you’re a step ahead! You already know your commitments and can have peace of mind around committing to a volunteer opportunity, or not. If you say yes – to collecting Box Tops, coaching soccer, or being the room parent – The Arena App can help you navigate those commitments with ease because you’ll be able to see the work required and the time you have to complete it. 

Though the beginning of the school year will always be chaotic, The Arena App allows you to keep a sense of calm throughout the first few weeks. Our pre-built checklist for Navigating the First Week of School will help you stay on top; of all of the things that tend to overwhelm the beginning of school, such as making sure you have breakfast, lunch, and snacks planned for the week, as a way to alleviate some of the stress right off the bat. This can even give you a little more time to wrangle your child for that always-adorable First Day of School photo! 

As always, new school year = new routines! To set a new one, sit down as a family and decide what you want from the school year. Decide what that means for your morning routine and after school routine. Once you have your new routine, keeping it consistent is key. One strategy is to set alarms on your watch, phone, or home device to keep everyone moving from one task to the next before or after school. You can also put your routine into Arena and make it recurring. That way, ‘Daily Homework’ every afternoon or ‘Sunday Night School Prep’ happen in a consistent, predictable, happy way each time. 

What’s New

In addition to going back to school, many kids will be starting a new extracurricular activity in the fall. Maybe soccer? Scouts? Learning a new musical instrument? In the rush of making sure you bought everything on your child’s classroom list, you may have overlooked the extracurricular purchases. Reach out to the coach/leader/instructor for a list of must-haves, as well as good-to-haves. Find out (and write down!) the snack schedule, and sign up for other volunteer opportunities, too. As every parent knows, an early volunteer sign-up beats a late one every time. Every. Single. Time.

The beginning of every school year also presents the same challenges as the previous year, and yet everything somehow feels different. But you can still get your family as prepared as possible for all of the changes. Take the time to think through everything you need, everything you need to do, and all the places you will need to be, and create a schedule for everyone. This time of year can be hard; but it’s possible to do enough to make it so that it’s not the worst time of year.