After a summer off most of us are ready to get our kids back to school and into some sort of routine. My experience has been summer is full of extra ice-cream, later bedtimes and more playtime and fun. Structure goes right out the window. Even as a working parent my children attended summer camp which was 99% play time, which made the transition to school so much harder. Now that it is time to get organized and ready to go back to school, here are 5 tips to make it just a bit easier! These five as well as many others can be found in the book "Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom."
1. Set goals and write them down!
What is it you need to get done to get ready? School clothes shopping, doctor physicals, refills of any inhalers or medicine or perhaps filling out bus forms or permission slips?
Writing down what you need to do and the steps you need to take in order to get it done can make all of the difference between a stressed out first week of school and a calm and organized one. Set up a calendar and timeline and check off or cross out what you have completed. Believe it or not you will actually be more likely to achieve your goal when you see your self closer to it. Writing down and checking off items on your to do list helps your brain see yourself as closer to getting it all done. So get a notebook or a planner and start making your list for a smooth back to school.
2. Prioritize "Happy"
During times of change, like transitioning back to school, it is normal to feel added stress. Even positive events can increase our stress levels We have a negativity bias that becomes even more pronounced during this time. What that means is we tend to put more weight on the negative or problems in our lives than on the good or the positive events. A simple way to increase mood is to identify the things we are grateful for and identifying and savoring the good that can often be overlooked or taken for granted. A bedtime ritual I like use with my kids is called "Fill Your BAG Happy". What you do is imagine a BAG that is filled with the negative and stressors of the day and then picture yourself emptying it out to clear out all of the junk. Then you use the letters of the word BAG to refill it.
- What is the Best part of my day?
- What did I Accomplish?
- What am I grateful for?
Spend a few minutes answering those questions each day to remind yourself of all the good and the positive as you finish your day. My son in grammar school does it with me every night and my middle schooler writes it in her journal.
3. Take Care of YOU
As a clinical therapist and life coach I often find the first thing I teach overwhelmed parents is that it is okay to take care of your needs. Mindfulness meditation practice daily has made a huge difference in my life and my ability to be a better parent to my two children.
4. Clear the clutter
The Toy Tamer for some really cool ideas.
For more tips and insights on back to school and other topics such as managing food allergies, birthday parties and dealing with head lice, check out my book "Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom."
Remember to not let "perfect" get in the way of fantastic parenting!
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC
Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching LLC
Check out other back to school articles and enter to win $100 giveaway below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway