The Best (Not So Average) Back to School Blog Posts.

Back to school- it’s that time of year again. A time full of hustle and bustle, and schedules. And, let’s face it, it is the second most stressful time of the year. The time of year when we want to pull all our hair out and finish off the last remaining drops of wine from every bottle. But, it doesn’t have to be.

1- 14 Tips for a Successful School Year– In the article, 14 Tips for a Successful School Year, author Joanne Foster provides 14 tried and true tips for strengthening the resilience, creativity, and productivity of children to prepare for a more successful school year. The tips range from fostering creativity through challenges and opportunities to providing abundant resources to promote growth and reflection. The tips also include providing comfort zones that offer encouragement and reinforcement, as well as establishing consistency and routines. Being aware and expressing pride in the accomplishments of the child are also conducive to a successful school year. Joanne also expresses the need for nurturing the children’s need for autonomy and developing the habits of gratitude. I have rounded up four back-to-school blogs that will provide you with enough ammunition to tackle those early mornings and sleepy routines with pride and vigor!

It all begins with a good game plan!

2- The Success Myth– In her article on Psychology Today, The Success Myth, Heidi Grant Halvorson approaches the idea of success. As parents, we naturally want our children to excel in any endeavor they set out to achieve. However, as Heidi explains, not every endeavor will come naturally to every child. We want our children to have the best teachers and the best school curriculum, and we place them in various after-school activities or sports programs so that they can have the best opportunity to go far in life. They say practice makes perfect. And, to some degree is does. For instance, many high profile athletes were not originally very good in their field, but they kept practicing and pushing themselves to achieve their goals. Therefore, as parents, we should always encourage our children to keep practicing. You child may wish to play football or gymnastics, but may not be naturally very athletic. Encouraging them to continue practicing and not give up when things seem hard will not only instill in them the drive to keep going when things get tough in other areas of their lives as they age, but the payoff will be when they make the team that the so eagerly hoped for. The opposite side of this spectrum is when parents push their child to excel at something because it is the parent’s wish for them to be great at it, or the parent uses the loophole of, “I paid for this, now you are going to play.” As parents, we should be encouraging and supportive to help them foster the dreams and goals they envision for their future. Parent involvement is important to a child’s success, both in school academics as well as any after-school activities like sports or music lessons. However, realizing that not every child can catch a fly-ball, or steal home base, or win a championship spelling bee, let them know that is okay too. They will find their niche in the world. They are young. They still have time to try many things to find that niche.

Find ways to combat social anxiety.

3- How to Help Kids With Social Anxiety– In her article, How to Help Kids With Social Anxiety. While many back to school articles will provide you with a plethora tips on how to pick out the best back pack or what lunch box will get you the most bang for your buck, Kate Hurley, LCSW, tackles an under talked about, yet equally important topic- social anxiety. Back to school can be a trying a scary time for kids and teenagers, alike. The stress of back to school can be significantly increased if the child is attending a new school, advancing up from elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school, or even just the thought of getting adjusted to a new teacher or new classmates. Kate breaks down social anxiety to help parents gain a better understanding of why kids can experience it, as well as signs of social anxiety to look for in your child. Kate goes on to provide valuable coping skills and strategies to help your child better manage their social anxiety.

Set up a command center

4- 15 Back-to-School Hacks to Get Your Year Off to a Running Start- Finally, in the Good Housekeeping article, 15 Back-to-School Hacks to Get Your Year Off to a Good Start, we find Marisa Lascala providing 15 do it yourself ideas to help back to school with ease. The tips and hacks she provides can be done relatively easy and will help reduce the amount of stress for both parents and children as you adjust and trek through another school year. She starts her back-to-school hacks list with setting routines. I am a huge fan of routines, and use them myself in my daily life. It is important to keep children on a routine, as much as possible, during school seasons. When they know what is expected of them it helps to avoid, or at least reduce, unnecessary rebellion. Also, given that it takes at least a good two months to form new habits, by by repeating their routine daily, they will have a better chance for adopting this new routine and reduce the amount of time you will have to spend reminding them of their schedules. Routines vary for every family or individual. There are many variables that come in to play when developing a school routine for your children. Marisa also discusses the idea of setting up a command center. The size and layout of your command center can depend greatly on the space and location you have available for one. We live busy lives, coming and going. Some families have two parents who work outside of the home, others have only one. But regardless of parents’ work schedules, setting up a command center is an invaluable back-to-school idea. At any given time, any member of the family can easily access and look over the command center and see upcoming events or the schedule for the day. You can search on Pinterest for ideas and suggests for setting up a functional command center. It can be as simple or as extravagant as you would like for it to be.

Setting routines and fostering an encouraging and supportive environment are key components of any successful school year. Getting back into the school swing, doesn’t have to be an exhaustive and stressful time. I hope these related articles will help provide you with some insight and encouragement as you set out on the new school year. Happy schooling!

School’s In! Tips for Getting Organized for the New School Year.

It is with a degree of difficulty that we think about giving up that last little slice of the summer pie we have been afforded year after year. But, alas, as summer draws to a close and fall is upon the horizon, it is time to prepare for that ever daunting task of getting back to school The time doesn’t have to be stressful, however. And, I have created some tips to help get you organized and all set for the new school year with a degree of optimism and enthusiasm like never before.

Morning Routine– No matter if you are a busy mom with children heading back off to school, you are a college student, or you are a more non-traditional adult with no small children, but have a full time job and are working on college courses, either online or in a brick and mortar university, having a solid morning routine can substantially set you up for a more successful school year. Morning routines are as varied as the individual that is executing them. Perhaps, you are a stay at home mom who only needs to be mindful of the time in which the children need to be ready for the school bus or time to leave for the school drop off line; or maybe you work outside the home and have a specific time that you have to have everyone ready to leave the house in order to arrive to work on time. It is simply a matter of taking into account any times that have to be allotted for non-negotiable things, such as school times, work times, and commute times. My current morning routine consists of two components- house chores and self care. My morning house routine is to being my day with unloading the dishwasher, swish and swipe the bathrooms, make the bed, and begin a load of laundry. Likewise, my morning self care routine is brushing my teeth, applying my morning power serum, day cream with sunscreen, make up and hair. I’m both cursed and lucky in the regard that my hair is short and thin, so I do not have to allow for extra time for hair straighteners or curlers. My whole morning routine takes me less than thirty minutes to complete. I currently work from home, so I do not have to stick to a rigid time frame for completing my morning routine. However, that was not always the case. I used to work outside of the home and I knew what time I needed to leave to arrive to work on time, taking into account that I was in the heart of the rush hour commute in Atlanta traffic. I made allowances by getting up thirty to forty minutes earlier to provide the time needed to complete my morning chores and maintain my morning routine.

Make a Plan– I cannot stress enough the value of a functional planner. I put emphasis on the word functional, because it is all too common and all too easy to start preparing for a new school year by purchasing a crisp, clean, and gorgeous new planner to keep track of all of your important dates and reminders, yet after a few weeks or so, the planner seems to fall by the way side and gets written in less and less as you find yourself forgetting more important things. The planner system that I currently use is the Happy Planner brand. I chose it for its functionality as well as customization. I have played around with a variety of planners from the generic Walmart planners to Franklin Covey and I have a set up ready for 2020 from the Agenda 52 line to go back to a binder style planner. Regardless of what brand or style of planner you choose, it should be one that is functional for all of your needs and user friendly enough to inspire you to refer to it and write in it daily. The idea is that keeping a planner is essential to tracking appointments and assignment due dates.

Prep for the Evenings– As important as a morning routine is, having an evening routine can be just as vital. Evening routines include tasks such as dinner, cleaning the kitchen, baths, and laying out clothes for the next day. A good way to prepare for the evenings, and alleviate a lot of undue stress is menu planning. By planning out your menus in advance, you can adjust day by day, according to any after work or after school appointments or errands and prep easy to fix meals on the days that you have commitments that would otherwise take away time needed to prepare a complicated recipe dish. For instance, ball practice after school? Toss an easy roast in the crock pot, set on low, and when you arrive home dinner will be ready with only a quick side dish or two. Side note, steam vegetables make a wonderful quick side dish on those busy nights! In an effort to try and have an easy and stress free evening, try to implement planning for the evening and night routines as much as you can early on in the day or on a Sunday evening, to alleviate a lot of the juggling and panic to try and decide on a dinner choice or locate the baseball mitt on the fly.

Delegate- As mothers, we tend to want to do everything for everyone. It is, in essence, in our nature to be nurturers. But, being a nurturer and being a martyr are two completely different things. While we love our families and love taking care of them, we do not have to do it all. It is possible, and essential to delegate our work to the other members of our family. Even small children can benefit from being assigned to pick up their own toys or put their clothes in the hamper for washing. Taking on everything can be stressful and limiting in the amount of quality time we spend with our families. So, take a few items off your to-do list, and graciously gift them to family members who can handle those tasks. The work will get completed much quicker, and you can enjoy a few moments of blissful silence relaxing in the bubble bath with a glass of chilled wine at the end of the evening. Oh yeah, and enjoy time spend with the family as well. Now, the important, and I do me the most important thing to remember when delegating tasks to the other members of your family is – do not expect perfection! Perfection is an illusion best saved for fools. Be grateful to them for the help they provide you. Do not go behind your children and re-make their beds or re-fold their clothes in the drawer. Just enjoy that you had the time freed up and enjoy sitting with them on the couch enjoying a movie before bed time.

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