Most parents have learned to dread the season of back-to-school. The main reason is the ‘madness’ of getting everything ready in time for the start of school. Children want more than parents can afford, schools need more supplies than we ever recalled, and marketers want us to consider their products above all others.
Getting ready for the new school year can be a lot of stress. It can be a lot of fun as well. Either way, the season to get back to school changes the pace of most families.
Leading Back to School
Several veterans of the process informed this writer that the best way to get on top of the season is to come in with a game plan. A prepared list.
In other words, do your homework as early as possible so that the transition is as smooth as possible. The last minute approach leaves too much room for chaos to slip in and make a mess.
The fun and the hype around the new season can twists a few cool heads, especially in a crowded store trying to get the last of the season’s good prices. Once the season is over, most of the supplies are no longer available in stores, so the pressure is understandably high.
So… what can concerned parents do to make the next season better?
The Game Plan
By the time this blog is written, edited, and posted, the initial pulse of back to school will be nearly a week or two old. So, this is more a look back at this season’s march back to school.
Some schools have their supplies list available during the summer. Getting a jump on that list is awesome. Of course, getting great deals may mean waiting, but having the list of websites for online ordering lined up, and having a game plan for “team shopping” is helpful.
Team shopping? Team up as families and divide up the labor of hunting for supplies. That way, the first day of the season, people can fan out and get the great deals while supplies are in good numbers. The rush of waiting for the end means less options and more crowded places.
Of course, this does mean having families who trust each other working together so it’s all fair and well orchestrated.
This also means saving in advance, the sticker shock can be daunting for families with less experience and means. The veteran families know to put some resources aside to shop for supplies. Especially because many schools now depend of families to supply the classrooms with communal supplies.
The conversation with the children has to take place to set expectations. When children assume that parents have all the means in the world to fulfill their dreams, they will run wild with ideas of what to buy. The super fast new sneakers that has to match the coolest backpack to the outfits that will make them seem super cool. Yeah, they want it all but we’ve got to teach them to not only be realistic but also practical.
The objective is to learn in school, not parade how much cool things our parents can afford. Not saying you shouldn’t pay attention to your presentation, but what is the value the family wants to set for the children.
Never hurts to rehearse the morning rituals necessary to get to school on time. Especially if starting a new school, different route, or just plain waking up earlier than normal from the summer’s routine. Children perform better when they’ve got a clue what’s coming ahead for them.
Speaking of rehearsing the morning rituals, what of the afternoon/evening rituals? Homework has to be done in a timely fashion, review of learned skills and day’s debrief has to be taken into consideration as well.
All of this means one thing… parents need to communicate more and be on the same page with each other about the rush back to school.
The Rush Back
We, as parents and CEOs of the home, set the tone for the success and mindset of our children. If we pass on our optimism and comfort in the new season, the children will reflect this in their attitude towards school. If we’re a hot mess and out of control with reactivity, the understandable anxiety children have around school will have a corresponding impact on their opening days.
Many gurus have touted the benefits of a good solid morning routine. One that involves fitness, reflection, meditation, and planning for the day.
While it’s safe to assume the structure of the classroom makes a child’s plans pretty consistent and straight forward, the habit of waking up early enough to meditate, read, prepare, review, workout, and pro-actively go into the day… that has to be taught at home. Are we leading by example or are we getting up at the last possible second and rush them hard into their school day?
How we set up their morning and close their evening will have a huge impact on the practices of life they develop. Especially in the area of self-management and stress management.
It’s never too late to start a good routine. The school year is still very young and super fresh. Let’s give our youth their best opportunity by leading their success in school with deliberate actions.
Cheers to the new school year.