Monday, July 30, 2018

Easing Back into the School Year with Less Stress

August is just a few days away.  Summer is ending. I can't tell you how much I wish it wasn't true. Every year at this time I start to go through this. I'm so thankful it's not time too cool off the summer heat, or have it get dark earlier yet, but having the kids go back to school seems like such a final goodbye to summer to me.  Schedules become an important thing again and with that seems to come a lot of rushing and stress. Especially when there are toddlers involved, we all know that they are the real ones in charge of the schedules ;)

This time of year (Back to school time) can be really stressful for some moms, so today I wanted to share some of the things that I do to help me get ready and go into the school year less stressed so I don't get so overwhelmed.

I think the biggest help for me is getting everyone back on schedule. I'm not one who will sit down and plan out our day, but I do like structure to our day.  We have a bedtime, we have chores and errands that we do on certain days, we have a homework time... I know that if I set aside specific times/days for certain things they are more likely to get done. We don't always stick to our plan 100% but we try to make sure we are close.  As school approaches, we move the kids' bedtime up a little at a time until it's the bedtime they use for school, for my girls that's usually 8:30, for V it's 8.  I make sure to get my work done (be it errands, chores or blog stuff) as early as I can during the day, sometimes blogging happens during nap/quiet time, so that I can spend more time with my kids doing things we like to do for the rest of the day. Whatever we are doing, by this time in the summer we start to find more structure to our days to get back in the regular routine so that it's not quite as big of a shock to their systems when we have to be more structured.

I'm a big believer in spontaneous fun.  This doesn't always mean something huge and exciting, but I try to keep the schedule open enough (during summer and school) to allow for fun things. We go to the park or splash pads, or just play with cousins when we are invited. Sometimes we make a spontaneous afternoon trip to the cabin. Sometimes we go get a cheap treat. Sometimes we just make a treat or watch a movie. The idea here is that we try to keep room for fun things. I really think that when we do this, everyone is more willing to do what we have to do.

We write big/important things on our calendar so that everyone in our family is aware of what we have coming up. Campouts, birthdays, family plans and my races all go on there so we know what weeks are open and when we have plans. It helps the girls see that we are doing stuff together and it helps me see when we can sneak in some of those spontaneous plans I was talking about. Obviously, when school starts, those plans start to decrease a little bit until the holidays.

Once we get the girl's school schedules, I put them on the fridge, add them to my phone and let Trevon in on when things are going on. This helps me remember everything I need to remember! I don't want to forget when tuition is due or when a field trip is coming up!

We realize that even with schedules and plans, things happen. We try the best we can to go with the flow and not stress too much about things that fall through or plans that change. Life happens either way, it's better to make as much fun out of it as possible. And I'll be the first to admit that this is not my strongest area in life but it's a work in progress.

I make sure that I'm getting my workout in at some point during the day. I'm a much happier person when I've gotten some kind of exercise. I feel more accomplished and energetic all day when I get those endorphins.

I also make sure that I get some sleep. We try to go to bed around 10:30 every night because Trevon and I both function much better with 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  It doesn't always happen, and there are days that I feel tired and I just realize that not everything will get done. But we do what we can.

I wake up and get ready EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I am not a happy mom when I stay in pajamas or sweats, no make up with my hair in a ponytail all day. Nope. When I do that I feel sluggish and sick and grumpy. So I make sure to get myself dressed and ready so that I can tackle my day and feel good about myself. I could probably write a whole post on this. Maybe soon.

I also made a rule that my kids need to get ready for the day, at the beginning of the day. During the summer this is usually tricky and it usually means some kind of day clothes on with their hair at least brushed, although I'd love if they would hold still long enough for me to style their hair a little bit. But the main point here is to keep them in the habit of getting ready for the day right off the bat so we don't have to rush so much when we start catching the bus. We also do this so that when we get an invitation to go do something or when it's time to run some errands, we don't have to spend extra time getting ready beforehand.

We don't always have stress free mornings, but I feel like when we stick to these things it makes life a little easier for us.  I'm not a terribly organized person (though I'd love to be better at that) but what we do helps ease the stress of school starting a little bit more.

When does school start for your kids?

What do you do to ease the daily stress?

Are you a summer mom or a school year mom? (I much prefer summer)

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