Settling into the new school year routine
September has kicked my butt. I don’t like or want to admit it but it’s true. Consequently, the new school year routine is kicking everyone else’s butt too. This makes me feel slightly better.
A month ago – in August – I remember saying how excited I was for September to come and for a new school year to begin. I craved the schedule. I thought the new school year routine would make it all better. Yes, in truth it has.
But my goodness.
It’s a lot.
We have three kids in multiple activities. This year – my youngest – is a full-throttle-ahead kid. He’s six. He’s now officially into stuff and on the activity roster. Whereas before he was a handbag, now he too has a new school year routine added into the mix.
But there are only two of us.
We’re one driver short.
It’s a lot.
It seems every day we are just running and running. Or better yet I should say driving and driving. (although one activity we drive to IS track). But I digress. Thus, we are always on the move, on the go, in the car, and it’s exhausting.
Ok, so it’s been a month. The new school year routine is now firmly in place. All the fall sports are chugging along. It’s time to get organized.
That means we have the running around down pat, now we need to have the downtime – well… down. We need to respect our mental health, physical exhaustion, and well-being in addition to schoolwork and activities.
Schedules and Routines Make Me Happy
As a rule, we schedule everything, so why not schedule downtime too? It sounds funny but for us, if it’s not on the calendar it won’t happen. Well maybe that’s just me, and I’m ok with that… Hi, I’m Stacey and I am addicted to my calendar.
By the same token, this means using our time “off” efficiently to repair, restore, and regenerate ourselves. Furthermore, it means spending some quality time together in one place at one time.
With everyone going in different directions all week we can’t lose sight of the importance of being together. Here are five tips to keep a little sanity in your week of mayhem.
1. Incorporating Nature Into Your New School Year Routine
Spending time outside has always been a bonding activity for us. We enjoy taking nightly walks and going on hikes. However, with the sun setting early and homework looming, a daily walk is now challenging. Because of this, I try to schedule a hike or walk on the weekend. This is a priority for us because there are so many benefits to being outside and in the fresh air.
2. Make One Weekend Night A Family Night
It is important to us that we eat dinner together as a family. Nevertheless, with five different schedules, this is often challenging. We try to spend Friday nights together and watch a movie as a family. We couple this with taking turns picking the movie so there’s no fighting. Moreover, we love showing our kids the movies we watched growing up in the 80s and 90s.
3. Add Time To Your New School Year Routine For Bodies To Recharge
We are constantly on the go. We put so much emphasis on activities that it’s important to put equal emphasis on downtime. Like all other kids, our kids like playing video games. The rule is they can play in the morning before getting ready for school until we wake up. In effect, this gives them some quality Mario time and gives us some extra sleep. Without doubt too much zoning out time is negative, but we believe video games in moderation are great. In fact, with all the commotion of our week, we’ve learned making video games a family activity is a fun way to veg out together. Hence, on Saturday mornings you can find us resting and relaxing on the couch. Plus, kicking your kid’s butt in a video game gives you lots of credit in the “cool parent” department.
4. Family Game Nights
We love playing games as a family. As our kids age their ability to play games we like increases. Some of our favorites are Cobra Paw, Ticket to Ride, Uno, Mancala, Harry Potter Wizard Chess, Sequence, Rubik’s Race Game, and Rummikub. We are always on the hunt for new games that are easy to play and have great strategies involved. We also love playing simple card games like Spit. In truth, sometimes I grunt and groan when the kids suggest playing a game – I am burnt out and exhausted. However, once I get over that hump it’s always a good time. I think the key is finding games you like playing and getting your kids into them – not the other way around.
5. Studying and School Work
Of course, no new school year routine would be complete without emphasis on schoolwork. With constant school testing these days, there are two ways to look at it. We can either complain or focus on how it highlights our kid’s areas needing improvement. Furthermore, there are so many great resources available that it’s easy to help our kids strengthen one specific subject muscle. So why complain? The key here is finding a workbook your kids like so it doesn’t feel like a chore. We’ve had great luck with Popular Books Complete Math Success workbooks for both boys – so it’s never a fight. We don’t push, we just tell him to do one page a day. Just a little bit for five minutes. We also love their perk-filled Parent Club Rewards Program packed with supplemental material.
Give Yourself A Little Grace To Adjust To The New School Year Routine
In conclusion, every family looks different and every family has its own schedule and agenda. However, we can all agree on the importance of our new school year routine, the joy of seeing our kids excel at an activity, and the desire to create a warm home.
We all adjust differently to the new school year. Much like everything else we do as parents, we owe ourselves a little grace and patience to get there.
What’s your new school year routine? Is it working?