5 TIPS TO GET BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
Getting back into the swing of things after a break always seems to be a challenge for me. Here are some of my favorite tips for making that transition a little less painful.
RECLAIM SLEEP CYCLE
This is always a challenge in my house. When my kids were younger, I would put them to bed a few minutes earlier each night towards the end of a break to help get them ready for school starting. Now that they are teens, I’m torn between doing this (because I know it helps) or letting them enjoy the last few moments of break by letting them stay up late and sleep in.
We all know sleep is so important for growing brains – and for parents who are often sleep-deprived… Work hard at re-establishing a bedtime and sleep routine once school starts again. Whether you get a jump start a few days before break ends or drop in head-first, make this a priority.
GET UP WITH FIRST ALARM
OK, I am probably writing this more as a “note to self” than to anyone else. Getting out of bed with the first alarm seems to make my day easier. Hitting the snooze button even one time (or three) is often a recipe for a rushed morning and then a sluggish feeling for most of the day. Convince your child, or yourself, that this is important and encourage him to get out of bed on the first try.
THINK ABOUT & ANTICIPATE CHALLENGES
Prepare in advance for any challenges you anticipate. If your child struggles with picking out clothes to wear, do it together the night before. That way, first thing in the morning, all your child needs to do is wake up and get dressed. If your child ignores her alarm, talk about a plan to get up with the first alarm. Maybe you need to put the alarm on the other side of the room or turn the volume to a louder setting before bed.
If dinner time has been a challenge, kids are hungry or cranky before dinner, provide a healthy, filling snack after school. Plan meals in advance when possible so that they are quick and easy to pull together. Invite your child to help get dinner ready and on the table faster. Many hands make light, and faster, work!
TAKE SMALL STEPS
If it is hard for your child (or you) to get out of bed, help teach him to tackle small steps. When his alarm goes off/you wake him up, all he really needs to do is put his feet on the floor. Then, once his feet are on the floor, he could walk to the bathroom. Once he has done his business, he’ll wash his hands. As long as he is washing his hands, he can wash his face and brush his hair and so on.
For those parents with younger children, you might not be able to relate to this ‘struggle of getting out of bed’ yet, but it’s coming! You can apply this ‘take small steps’ tip to anything. If your child is struggling to set the table, have him just take the napkins over first and put them where they belong. Then he can take the forks over.
Small steps mean many small victories. Setting an easy single task and accomplishing it and then another will help get you motivated. Once you have done an easy task and then another, and then another, you’ll soon find yourself back up to your normal pace.
This is a great skill set to learn when solving problems or tackling goals later in life. But for now, we’re just focused on getting back into the swing of things! Did you see what I did there? I mentioned the big picture but helped you focus on taking one small step = look only at what is happening right now!
Cut your child and yourself a little slack! Getting back into the swing of things, transitioning, can be tough. I always think I will come back from a break feeling relaxed and refreshed. Oftentimes I actually feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. And then there are the piles of laundry and the “we need food!” grocery shopping on top of everything that needs to happen during our ‘regular’ week. Remind yourself that you and your kids are adjusting to being back in the real world. Anticipate melt downs and use humor or distraction, maybe even food, to help your children and you get through the transition period.
Allow the first few days to be a period of adjustment. Help your child, more than you might normally do, with bedtime and morning routines. Remind her, and yourself, to BREATHE. Change can be challenging but there can also be great things coming ahead. And really, once you take that first step, things should get easier!
Challenge: Try one or all the tips above to help make your transition from break easier.
I would love to hear from you. What things do you do that work best for your family when it comes to getting back into the swing of things after a break?