Balancing the New
The beginning of a new school year can be a mix of emotions for everyone. Parents stress about everything that needs to be done, and if there is enough time to do it all. Children experience a mix of excitement and anxiety about starting a new grade (or a new school). Everyone feels ready to start over, with new routines and expectations for the year, as if we should be setting resolutions. So how do you keep up those routines and expectations past the first month? What does it take to keep everyone on track?
The first step should be to sit down as a family and decide what you all want from the school year. Need to make sure that homework, playtime, and bedtime routine all stay consistent? Set alarms on your phone (or home device), with the expectation that everyone understands what each alarm means, and the next action to take after the alarm sounds. Eventually, you can stop them, but at least for the first few months, it’s good to keep everything moving until the habit is formed.
If you find a routine that works well for your family, you can plug it into The Arena App and make it recurring. That way, ‘Daily Homework’ every afternoon or ‘Sunday Night School Prep’ happen in a consistent, predictable, happy way each time.
Stress from work can also add to the chaos of a new school year. Projects tend to get pushed back in order to fit in doctor’s appointments, early pickups, soccer practice, and piano lessons. One solution is to work late at night or early in the morning, to avoid any conflict with the school routine. This can be taxing, however, as you lose time to relax and decompress. Self-care at the beginning of a new school year is also important, both for the parent and the child. Scheduling time for something as small as a walk around the neighborhood can help manage some of that stress and keep you on track for a successful school year.
If you find yourself behind on multiple tasks, take a few minutes and make a list of all of them. From that list, take a look and see if anything can be delegated. If you make your list in The Arena App, our users report that many of the smaller things often stand out for them as things that can be delegated. For whatever remains, take a closer look and see if any of those can be broken down further. Smaller, more specific tasks can be much easier to manage and being able to at least work on some part of a project is better than just putting it off until you have a larger chunk of time.
Keeping track of all of your child’s activities can be challenging as well, between practices, games, and various meetings. Use your calendar and enter all of these in as soon as you know about them. Added bonus: If you know ahead of time that you will have a conflict with one of the activities, you can to set up a carpool plan with another family and offer some alternating support for travel to and from events.
Maintain the Peace
Resolutions can be difficult to keep, no matter what time of year you make them. The new school year routines can be beneficial to more than just you and can help make the transitions much smoother. The most important thing to remember is to make choices that keep life peaceful. Setting yourself – and your family – up for a successful school year will make all the difference.