I can safely say I’m in the same boat as my fourth grader Anya when it comes to gearing up to go back to school every August. As a college professor, my kids aren’t the only ones who have to get reacquainted with a school routine. It can definitely present a challenge for many parents. There are earlier bedtimes, chaotic mornings and homework in the evenings to deal with.
I’ve found organization is the key to staying on track when the new school year rolls around.
I try my best to start integrating an earlier bedtime two weeks before school starts. This is a must. The ‘hey it’s summer, let them stay up as late as they want’ mentality is long gone. Pinterest is full of printable evening checklists geared toward different age groups. Hopefully this tool will save parents from having to repeat themselves when it comes to getting their kiddos to do simple nightly tasks (baths, putting on PJs, brushing teeth, reading a story, etc).
There are several charts online that recommend appropriate bedtimes for children according to their age. So, my 9 year old that gets up at 6:40 a.m. should be going to bed about 8:30 p.m.
Anya got her very own alarm clock this summer, so I’m hoping this will help make mornings a little more pleasant. If she wakes up on her own, I’m not the bad guy turning on lights and pulling back the covers, coaxing her to get up and get going. I’ll keep you posted as to how this actually works out.
Additionally, I found several morning checklists on Pinterest and printed those for Anya. Just another helpful tool to keep her on the right track during the school year. Normally Anya's morning routine consists of waking up at 6:40 a.m., getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, grabbing her backpack and heading out to meet the bus at 7:10 a.m. Thankfully she likes eating breakfast at school which allows her to sleep a few extra minutes.
I highly recommend taking your kids on annual the school supply shopping excursion. Checking off items on a list is an exciting process for most (adults and children alike). And there’s nothing more nostalgic than the smell of opening a new box of crayons. Letting kids pick out their own folders or composition books with a design they like is a small step that leads to more excitement about the coming school year.
Besides purchasing what was on the fourth grade school supply list for Rogers Elementary, we decided to take it a step further. We found a great three-ringed-sleeve that holds a monthly calendar that fits perfectly in Anya’s Trapper Keeper. And for $1, it was a great deal. Anya also wanted an academic planner (also $1) and the teacher in me was so proud. I still buy an academic planner each year in addition to jotting down notes and appointments in my cell phone calendar. There’s just something about physically writing down a task that helps hold me accountable.
As a college professor, I’ve seen firsthand how my students who invest in academic planners and write down assignments/appointments tend to stay on track and meet deadlines. It’s never too early to start encouraging your kids to keep a calendar. It leads to them taking responsibility and ultimately their high school teachers and college professors will thank you.
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Avery has worked as an assistant professor in the Communication and Media Studies Department at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor since 2005. She is the Program Coordinator for the PR degree and oversees student internships. She earned her Accreditation in PR (APR) in 2015. She teaches classes in journalism, editing, public relations and social media. Avery also serves as a Subject-Matter-Expert in communication for UMHB’s myWay program. She earned an MA degree in Mass Communication at Texas State University and a BS degree in Journalism/Speech Communication from Texas A&M University. Avery and her husband Chad have two beautiful girls, Anya and Elise. When she is not teaching or chauffeuring kiddos to and from activities, she enjoys traveling.