You see the signs everywhere, Mama. Summer is ending and a new season is beginning. The official change from summer to fall is on September 23, which will be here before we know it. But for families who need to adjust to a new school routine, summer ends when school begins, which is most likely happening now or within the next couple of weeks...
You have most likely spent your summer by the pool, visiting family, refereeing arguments, and dreaming up activities to keep your kids off of screens. You may have just found your rhythm. You finally figured out how to meet everyone’s needs, different from last summer because everyone is at a new stage; and now, everything is changing. The scheduling challenges shift. Breakfast are now in a time crunch. Lunches and wardrobes need to be prepared. You are no longer wondering how to fill the hours, but rather how to fit it all in.
Looking for some ideas to help you switch up your routine from summer fun to school year? (Not that you really want to, but we all know we need to...it's time). The kids are back in school, and it is time to refocus some of that energy on YOU.
1. Make a plan. Sketch out what you think your week will look like - work, playdates, sports practices, family time… the list goes on. Make a point of scheduling time for yourself - to relax, to exercise, to meet with a friend. Self-care is a huge part of all parts of our lives. We are better parents, partners, friends, and co-workers when we make a point of meeting our own needs.
2. Start the night before. Have your children set out their clothes, put their backpacks by the door, and even help prep for breakfast and lunch. BUT - make it a family routine! Set out YOUR clothes - whether they are for work or for a workout, prep YOUR breakfast while you teach them to prep theirs, and when you chop veggies for lunch boxes, add in enough for YOU.
3. Take advantage of the first opportunity. For many parents, the first chance for a deep breath is when the kids walk out the door to the bus stop or get out of the car at drop off. Maybe you have nap time for a younger child, or a conference call to attend to right away and need to delay that deep breath. Whatever your morning timeline is, consider how you can take advantage of that first free moment and do something for you.
4. Find a friend. Who else is sending kids to the bus stop? Who is dropping off their older children and then needing to fill a morning with a toddler? It doesn’t have to be time intensive or complicated. Go for a walk or jog straight from the bus stop, or meet at a park near the school after drop off. Finish the morning with a cup of coffee together before taking on the day’s tasks.
5. Find a group. Start a routine that includes a group activity that begins at a scheduled time. Put it on your calendar and commit to attending. It may be a weekly coffee date with people in a similar line of work, allowing you to refocus, learn from peers in a casual environment, and relax a bit. Or maybe a group fitness class to start your day with a workout. You can find classes to attend solo or with a little one in tow at FIT4MOM.COM.
Change can be overwhelming. And self-care is a huge piece that we forget to include as our routines shift. Have a plan and be ready to adjust it. Sort of like parenting.