Posted on 08/30/2017 at 11:37 AM by YMCA of Greater Des Moines
Making the transition from summer vacation to a new classroom can be stressful for kids and parents alike; our Y experts offer a few ideas to help the back-to-school shift go more smoothly.
“The start of a new school year usually brings with it a hectic schedule. Running around after school to everyone’s activities can make everyone in the family feel disconnected and rushed,” Joanna Gilmore, Youth Development Coordinator at our Walnut Creek YMCA reflects. “We really look forward to doing things as a family at the Y; this fall we plan on attending Family Yoga and Family Art Saturdays at the Walnut Creek Y. Not only do we have fun, but we get to spend the time together.”
Need a little time to yourself? Parents Night Out/Kids Night In events are a great way to grab a few kid-free hours, knowing they’re having a fun and safe evening at the Y while you take a breather or tackle your to-do list.
“A great suggestion I read recently is to not plan anything too fun or exciting the first week of school," Katie Brown, Preschool Program Director at our Waukee Family YMCA, adds. “Because by the weekend, kids are just spent. Instead of celebrating by going out to eat or seeing a movie, have a quiet night at home and let the kids rest.”
Have a new kindergartner on your hands? Jackie Thurnau of Y-USA suggests focusing on three areas to help your little one prepare: basic fine motor skills, managing independence, and understanding classroom social structures. “While they will still spend plenty of time playing, exploring and being creative,” Thurnau explains, “they will also be gaining independence, sitting for periods of time and interacting with children in a different way.”
Helping a teenager navigate new experiences? Y-USA youth development specialists Erin Reuland and Je’Nai Talley Jackson recommend these five strategies for helping teens feel loved and supported as they start a new year.
Applicable to all ages and families, our friends at the YMCA of Central Florida offer five more tips for dealing with back-to-school stress:
Plan meals ahead. Save time and energy during the ultra-busy school/work-week by making meals ahead of time over the weekend. Make a double batch when cooking during the week to use during an evening that is especially busy. Invest in a family planner to get recipes and lists organized.
Edit your closets. Make a family event out of picking out, ironing and lining up school and work outfits with your children on a Sunday afternoon. Make sure you get the student handbook out and follow the dress code.
Start out early. Subtract 20 minutes from your family’s morning leave time and make that time your goal. This may allow time to chat and relax before going out the door and can start the day out positive and peaceful. Take a trial run to prevent cranky kids.
Make it a good night. Establish an easy bedtime routine allowing 10-15 minutes each evening for reading together or talking about your day. This establishes a connection with your child that helps them get the Zzzs they need for a stress-free day.
Family dates. Schedule date nights for the whole family. Whether it’s going to a family event at the Y, making a meal together or taking a walk, there are many small things that can reduce stress and make lasting memories during the school year.
How do you handle the transition back to school? Share your tips with us in the comments!