Getting Back to the Norm
Summer is just about over. In just a couple of days, the kids will be heading back to school and we, as a family, will be getting back to the norm.
Norm. The normal. The routines. Life as it is when you're not enjoying the lazy days of summer. School, sports, homework, jobs, church and youth group functions will soon fill our calendar, consuming our time.
So what do you do to manage the change from sleeping in, kicking back, and enjoying summer to wake up calls, bus rides, and homework? Here are FIVE helps for your back to school preparation!
on the bedtime time schedule. It's not a perfect transition, there is usually some grumbling and complaining, but by starting on Monday, we're able to work the routine over the next couple of days. By the start of school, everyone knows that bedtime is coming and shock of the clock in gone.
Same is true with the wake up time. Since our kids ride the bus most mornings, we will stop letting the kids sleep in andstart waking them up. Like bedtime, we will ease into the alarm clock by starting at 9:00 a.m., then 8:30 a.m., then 8:00 a.m., until we get to the time of 6:30 a.m. for the teens and 7:00 a.m. for the younger guys.
Back to Regular Chores...
Not that we skip the chores in the summer, we try to stick to a regular schedule of chores during the school year. Summer comes with a softening of the chore schedule as kids are away at camp, the family is traveling, kids are working summer jobs, and we are enjoying the restfulness of summer. But when we get back to school, chores are a part of our daily routines.
Like bedtimes, the Monday before school becomes the kick-off day for our back to school chore list. The new chore list will come with a few changes as we shuffle up the chores and spread out the responsibilities. As each child gets older, the shuffle allows us to make sure that the responsibilities are grow as the kids grow. This year, maybe more than last, the shuffle is important as our oldest heads off to college leaving a number of openings on our chart!
Re-Establish the Family Meal...
As a large family of 7, the family meal is super important to us. But the busyness of kids schedules sometimes makes the meal difficult. Nevertheless, we work hard to set aside the dinner hour as our family meal time. We do everything we can to get as many of the family around the table for dinner as possible. For us, the dinner hour serves as the best time for our family to touch base, share, laugh, and enjoy some time together.
Away with Devices and Screen Time...
As we look to get back to the norm, part of the norm is limiting how much time is spent on electronic devices. So, as part of this week of preparation, we are gradually getting back to better screen time habits. This too will happen throughout the week since we (Amy and Jay) will still be juggling our work schedules, taking turns with who is at home. But starting on Monday, we will begin limiting the amount of time the kids spend sitting in front of the TV, on their electronic devices, playing video games, and playing on the computer. Our goal is to have a better screen time habits in place by the start of the school year.
Plan Out the Morning Routine...
This school year we will have two kids in the High School and two kids in the Elementary School. This means two different wake up times, two different bus stops and two different morning schedules. On top of this Amy will work 2 days week in the home while continuing to work outside of the home 3 days a week. Jay will also return to regular office hours Monday through Friday. For us to manage this amount of activities, it helps to plan what our morning routines, in general, will look like.
This week becomes super important for us as we begin to plan through what we want our school morning to look like. We don't like stress or the frustration of racing around, yelling at kids to kid out of bed, pushing everyone out the door to catch their buses on time. So for us, having flexible plan reduces some of the chaos that might come.
What does it look like to plan out your morning? Well, it's nothing super complicated or ultra-genius. We simply work out a system of who does what and when. On the mornings that Amy has to get up and work outside the home, Jay will take point in making sure the kids get up and out on time. When Amy is home, Jay has the opportunity to get up and out earlier. But it also includes thinking through work-out times, quiet-times, showers, breakfast plans, and transportation. Having a simple plan helps us keep everything together.
But, keep in mind, changes comes frequently in a family of our size, so nothing is carved in stone. The key to any good plan is flexibility and communication. It is crucial that you and your spouse are communicating throughout the week, making any necessary adjustments or changes.
There you go, five ideas to help you transition back into the norm. Of course these are things that work for us and our family. Perhaps you do something different with your family? So what works for you? How do YOU get your kids ready to go back to school? We'd love to hear from you.
Take a few minutes and share your "Back to the Norm" ideas in the comments below! Maybe something you do will help someone else this school! And that's how we grow stronger families together!
- the higham family
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