Getting School Off To A Smooth Start: A Guest Post by Susan Heid

Aug 18 2011

Hi!

I’m on the trip of a lifetime to Alaska with my family.  Five kids.  Ten days.  Infinite excitement.  While we’re away having grand, bloggable adventures, I’m sharing some special posts by guest writers.

I’m excited to introduce you today to my friend, Susan Heid.  I met Susan through our mutual blogging adventures (thanks, Kelleigh!), and I have greatly appreciated her advice, encouragement and thoughtfulness.  I’m even more excited to run my first 1/2 marathon this October with Susan!

Susan is the mom behind The Confident Mom where she loves inspiring moms to make small changes managing their home and family life giving them more time, less stress and stronger family relationships! She enthusiastically wears the hat of mom, step-mom and foster mom to 4 awesome kids – ages 18, 14, 10 and 19 months; is married to her very own prince charming, loves coffee, cloudy days, and does think the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.  Her FREE 5 part mini series: “The Opening Act” is helping moms become the calm mom they want to be!  Join the community of moms on Facebook or find her @ConfidentMom on Twitter.

I love it when moms help other moms!  It does my heart good.

Beth

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Get Off to A Smooth Start
by Susan Heid of The Confident Mom

It is nearly time for that school bell to ring and start a new chapter in your children’s lives. I know the time before school starts is a time of anticipation, excitement and even dread for some – personally I like the feeling of getting back to a strong routine.  After a few months of more random days, it fits my personality to get back to a flow that I can anticipate a little more.  I find I get more accomplished when there is more structure to my day.  Funny, my kids are the same way!

Some moms find it a breeze to make the shift, but others struggle with finding ways to make the transition easier on their kids.  If you’ve got it down – then read no further and just go to the comments section and leave a few tips for other moms who could use some encouragement, otherwise – keep reading and hopefully you will come away with one or two fresh ideas to make your family transition a little smoother.

Complete the List

Make sure you have gathered all the school supplies that your child will need.  This is critical. I love to shop for the pencils, crayons, notebooks – all that stuff, especially with all the great deals you can find.  I enjoy seeing how “little” I can spend to get my kids set up.  I even purchase items that may not be on their lists, as I know we will always need pocket folders, index cards and more pens throughout the year.  I have a bin in our upstairs office where the kids know they can find extra supplies most anytime.  This saves running out late at night to gather a forgotten item – plus usually saves me money too.

Control Center

Set up a place where you can “know” that you can find all the school papers, notes, permissions slips, homework sheets and schedules.  Find a spot in your home that works for you, either the kitchen or an entryway table – but set it up so that you can stay organized.  Have a shelf or folder for each child and help them become accustomed to placing all their items in one central location so that you can then look through them.  This will certainly alleviate those early morning frantic frenzy’s where you are looking for misplaced papers.  Pick a spot and use it!

Rise and Shine

Have younger kids start getting up a little earlier in the morning about a week before school actually starts.  If they have been sleeping in until about 8:30 AM and their normal time to get up during the school year is 7:00 AM, we set the alarm for 8:00 AM and then each day progress 15 minutes backwards to help them adjust.  With my older kids, well I give them this idea, but it is up to them whether they want to use the idea or not.  They can feel better the first day of school with this idea or suffer with their own way of adjusting to the early mornings!  It becomes all about choices.

Morning Routine

If you have been in a habit of being a drill sergeant in your home during the mornings, see what you can do to allow your child to take more control of their morning.  Even younger kids can start doing personal hygiene duties on their own with only a little help or point of reference and you won’t be left following them around on their heels reminding, nagging and basically being their puppeteer.  You can get creative about a system that works for your child, either a list they can check off, a board they can move tags, whiteboard they can write on or even a little voice recorder with directions that they can use each morning.  Something simple that will help them be self-directed is your goal – how can you help them achieve that? You may be amazed at what they can accomplish on their own without your constant direction.  It gives them a sense of pride, accomplishment and gets your day started in a less stressful way too!

Be Prepared

Take a look at tasks that are normally done in the morning and determine what you can do the evening before.  Can you set out breakfast dishes and make cereal or other breakfast items within reach of little hands?  Can the kids pack their backpacks with their homework and school related items?  How about making lunches or at least a portion of a lunch the evening before?  Truly evaluate what tasks you AND your child can accomplish the evening before in order to make mornings run a little smoother and everyone can get out the door with a smile on their face!

What have you done at your house to get prepared for school to start?  Please share your ideas so that other moms can lower their stress level too!