Despite what popular music or movies say, there’s no such thing as an endless summer. And soon enough, your kids will be strapping on backpacks and hauling their sack lunches back to school. During the busy, carefree summer months, you likely weren’t thinking about school supplies, immunizations and extracurricular sign-ups. But now’s the time to get your family prepped for back-to-school season. Here’s what you need to do before that first bell rings.
Tighten up the bedtime routine
One great thing about summer is the much-needed break it provides from the daily routine. Unfortunately, that routine inevitably has to make a comeback. Chances are the return of the bedtime routine won’t be popular among your little ones, so try to ease them back into it. Determine your kids’ bedtimes based on when they need to wake up in the morning and the amount of sleep they actually need. According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-age children (ages 6 to 13) need nine to 11 hours of sleep per night, with tweens and teens (14 to 17) requiring eight to 10.
Clean out the closets
August wouldn’t be the same without back-to-school shopping, but before you head to the mall to spend buckets of money on the trendiest new styles, take an afternoon to give your closets a clean sweep. It's pretty likely there are clothes and even school supplies you don’t need to replace. Even if you come up empty-handed, your home will be all the more organized for it.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should have well-child visits every year from ages 3 to 21. These routine checkups are critical in preventing diseases through giving scheduled immunizations, tracking growth and development and identifying any concerns or issues. The weeks before school starts are the perfect time to schedule a well visit, as most schools require current immunizations for admittance. Additionally, sports and other extracurricular activities often require physical examinations, so you can kill several birds with one stone.
Organize a 'dry run'
The new school year — especially if it involves a new school — can be nerve-wracking for young ones. Even the idea of walking to school or the bus stop can create anxiety. Before the big day, walk your child through a “dry run” of the new morning routine. Wake him or her at the appropriate time, determine where to keep backpacks and lunches for easy retrieval and walk to school or the bus stop together. Be sure your child takes proper safety precautions anytime he or she is walking alone.
Set some goals
Is this the year your kids get straight A’s? Spend more time as a family? Finally get that driver's license? Before the bell rings, work with your children to set some goals and expectations for the year ahead. These goals should be inspiring — not overwhelming. Reflect on the prior year and determine what would make this one better. A few small goals can make a big impact on the upcoming year.
You already know summer is fleeting. You’ve still got some time before school begins, so soak up every last minute of freedom and fun as a family. If possible, take the kids on a weekend getaway for some late-summer fun, or organize a “staycation” complete with everyone’s favorite activities, such as swimming, backyard camping and marshmallow roasting. Summer only comes around once a year, so make sure you’re sending this one out with a bang.
Robert J. DeBry and Associates wish you a happy new school year.
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