5 tips for getting into the back to school routine

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s August 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here article by Jamie Beeson Here’s how it happens:  The last school bell of the year rings and “WHOO HOO!!!!” summer has ARRIVED! Living in Montana, every part of our being is CRAVING the sun, summer, and opportunity to get out…get out of school, get outside, get out of the routine! As parents, we plan some fun adventures and take advantage of lazy mornings and late nights. We feel a sense of freedom and oh it feels so good until it doesn't anymore. By the time August hits, the kids have taken “freedom” to a whole new level. No one is wearing clothes anymore and there are cereal bowls left on the counter all day long. Doors are left open, the beds are unmade, and the lack of routine and schedule has now become frustrating not freeing. We now feel incredibly disorganized, completely off track without a sense of normalcy, and life feels chaotic. Then, a sign of relief hits the counter…back to school ads, letters from the teachers, and supply lists give us a sense of hope that the chaos will come to an end as a new school year begins. We begin to dream of the days in September when we have time for workouts, quiet lunches at home, and a house that doesn’t look like a tornado in Kansas. We get excited and inspired so we create charts, establish new hours of operation, and prepare for the new season. Three days before school starts we frantically try to tame our free-range, wild animals to routined, rested, and reserved songbirds in a cage. We scramble to set early bedtimes, drag them into getting dressed, and wonder why the routine is such a struggle! It’s not the routine that’s the struggle; it’s the CHANGE of routine that is the struggle. The former routine was lax and loose and the new routine is structured and scheduled. The WAY we try to create the change is what really creates the struggle in the first place. Any change requires an establishment of new habits. And to create new habits requires time. Small things done consistently over time will create the change, new habits, and routines.


Now that fall is right around the corner, a routine is knocking on our front doors. Here are 5 tips to help you enter into the new season a little more smoothly:
  1. Start habit changes one at a time. Instead of changing everything the week school begins, start sooner with one habit you’d like to establish for the school year. Start adjusting bedtimes three weeks before school begins.
  2. Start each habit small. For example, maybe you inch bedtime back by 10 minutes a night starting the 1st or 2nd week of August. That way, by the time school begins 8:00 pm isn't such a hard adjustment.
  3. Think ahead. Start establishing your weekly operational routines one-at-a-time. Find a meal-planning day and schedule it each week. Get the chores, errands, and planning times reestablished for your family and start now.
  4. Give yourself and your family grace. Change is not easy. It will still be light out. It is still summer. They will lie in bed and have a hard time falling asleep. It’s ok to fudge the rules and allow them to read until they are tired. That’s a good wind-down, nighttime routine anyway. If you haven’t worked out consistently for a long while, start small and be ok with a gradual progression of this new routine.
  5. Involve the family in creating the routines. Allow them to help with the problem-solving process. Decide how you can work together to make school days start and end well. Discuss priorities, responsibilities, and ask for input. Let them come up with some of the parameters. It’ll help with the transition if they feel like they’ve helped create the plan.
about the author...Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. "Fuel the body, mobilize the soul" is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1 or at bit.ly/JamieBeeson