It's that time of year again. The Christmas and New Year's holidays have come and gone, and it's time to drag ourselves (and our kids) back to the daily grind of school. But why is it so hard to get back into the swing of things after such a fun and restful break?
First of all, there's the issue of overindulgence. Whether it's too much food, too much screen time, or too many late nights, it's easy to let our healthy habits slip during the holidays. And when it's time to hit the books again, our bodies and minds are in a different form.
Then there's the fact that going back to school means saying goodbye to the freedom and flexibility of the holidays. No more sleeping in, no more casual mornings at home, no more last-minute plans. It's back to waking up early, packing lunches, and sticking to a schedule.
But let's remember the social aspect. The holidays are a time to catch up with friends and family, and it can be tough to go back to see the same classmates every day. As a result, the excitement of the holidays fades, and it can feel like Groundhog Day all over again.
How do we make the transition back to school a little easier? Here are a few tips:
Easing into a Bedtime Routine
Gradually easing into a bedtime routine a few days before school starts can help your child (and you) adjust to the earlier wake-up time and increase the chances of a good night's sleep. This might involve setting a consistent bedtime and sticking to a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. By gradually adjusting to the new schedule, you can avoid abrupt changes that can lead to disrupted sleep.
Getting Organized the Night Before
Getting organized the night before can go a long way in minimizing morning stress. Take time to pack lunches, lay out clothes, and gather materials for the next day. Having everything ready in the morning will help eliminate the rush and chaos that often accompanies getting out the door.
Encouraging Physical Activity
Physical activity can boost energy and improve focus. Exercise has been shown to improve brain function, increase blood flow to the brain, and release endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress. So encourage your child to be active before or after school, whether through organized sports, a game of tag, or a simple walk around the block. The extra activity can help your child feel more energized and ready to learn.
Setting Small Goals
Setting small, achievable goals for the first week back to school can help your child feel a sense of accomplishment and build momentum. These goals might be related to academics, such as completing all homework assignments on time or participating in class discussions. Or they could be more general goals, such as volunteering to lead a group project or trying something new. By setting small, achievable goals, your child can feel a sense of accomplishment and build confidence as they transition back to school.
Going back to school after the holidays doesn't have to be a drag. With some preparation and positive thinking, we can turn it into an opportunity to hit the ground running and make the most of the new year.