Monday, 2 September 2013

Back to School: It's All About the Routines

This year is the first year of school for L. She's a bundle of energy but it will be a big change so we are keeping activities to a minimum with just skating lessons on Sunday afternoon and hopefully some fun swim times on Friday nights or Saturdays. We all love to walk and take photos, especially in cooler weather and the girls are still trying to learn to ride two wheelers. All of this on top of the to/from school walk which totals 3km.  So I'm not worried about physical activity. And this way the girls will have plenty of downtime, homework time, and plain old play time with C who adores them!

Starting the second last week in August I reset our alarms using current favourite songs. One for waking up, one for heading to breakfast, one to start getting ready to leave. By the first day of school even the toddler know what song signals "get your shoes on". It also helped get them used to waking up earlier (sort of).

One of the ways we helped L get ready for school for the first time was a couple of weeks at day camp. She loved it. Add this to the fact that she is going to have her big sister's kindergarten teacher, the familiarity of the room and the teacher, definitely helped appease the night- before jitters. We'll see how the first week goes!

Every Sunday morning, we check the weather together for the week & choose outfits for week including hair accessories and place them in hanging cubbies (one cubby for each school day). This way my girls have choices and control plus any favourite clothes still have time to be laundered. An added bonus is ensuring that they don't wear dresses or skirts on gym days (too young to change for gym) or that they have the right colours/outfits for School Spirit Days.

Every Sunday afternoon I chop up veggies and fruit and place in two big glass dishes in the fridge. The girls have labelled lock&lock containers they pack for the next day every evening before supper. Because after supper is way too hectic!

And finally, while likely an unpopular choice, we don't let the girls watch TV during the week. Between after school routines, homework, playing, supper, bath time, and reading. There just isn't the time. And no TV ( this includes YouTube, movies and screen-time games) means they go to sleep much easier.

There's a bakers rack for all their lunch containers, water bottles, and lunch bags. We have hooks for backpacks. And a document holder for forms with calendars on the fridge. School supplies are in the kitchen and the office do that they don't need to take their pencil case out of their bag which reduces the chance they will forget it at home. And homework is done in the kitchen.

Ultimately the best thing we have going for back to school running smoothly is that our girls are super excited about it and generally have a love of learning we hope will continue for many years. And on the days it doesn't, the routines will hold it together.

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