Ohhhh summertime. It’s really a double-edged sword – we love the outdoor activities, homework-free evenings, and longer sunlight days, but at same time we are ready for a change of season for a multitude of reasons (i.e. the heat, the routine chaos, the lovely anticipation of evacuating for a hurricane, and again with the heat).
It’s funny how that happens; call it biological or the boredom of routine, but we can’t wait for the next season to roll around. Once we have used up all the benefits of the present season, we are yearning and planning for the next. Just a couple of months ago every one of my “small-talk conversations” with other parents sounded something like this: “Ugh! I’m so looking forward to the school year to end, going on vacation, and a homework break.”
Fast forward to now, and those conversations go more like this: “Ugh! I’m so looking forward to getting back into the routine, waiting for the cooler weather, and do not have to wash beach towels and bathing suits multiple times per week.”
But before you move on to yet another fall / back-to-school season, there are 5 things you should do before the end of summer:
1. Organize/Clean House
This seems more like a wishlist and a fantasy than an actual thing you can find the time to do. But it is a mental high to start off a new school year with an organized and clean home when you know where everything is and you have purged all of the outgrown, unused, and used up items in your space. That first week of a new teacher, new class schedule, new curriculum, is enough anxiety-ridden newness for even the most stable of us. So why not start on a clean slate with what you do have control over? A clutter-free, emotionally calm, organized home?
2. One Last Hoorah!
If you have the time and the funds to go on one last getaway … then do it and take lots of pictures to capture the memories. Even if it’s just a long weekend or a day trip out of town. It’s like going in for that last bite of chocolate or that last glass of wine – you have had enough, but before you move on you want to savor every last bit. In the words of Adele, “Let me photograph you in this light in case it is the last time…”
3. Discuss The Next Grade With Your Kids
The pressure we put on our children to excel in most things, especially school, is stressful. Probably more so for the parents than the kids, but still they feed off of us. So talk about the upcoming school year before you show up to the “race.” What are their expectations, concerns, and goals? The more you can discuss it before you are in the thick of it, then the more desensitized everyone becomes to it, which decreases everyone’s anxieties.
4. Practice The Morning Routine
It can’t hurt to start practicing the morning routine a week or two out before the first BIG day. And it really begins with the night time routine with getting to bed on time, so getting up on time is easier. Go through all the motions of setting the alarm, putting on school clothes, making lunches / breakfast, and driving to school. The drive to school is especially valuable if you are going to a new school and not familiar with your route and the traffic. It will seem ridiculous and unnecessary, but if you can laugh during this simulation on how crazy it seems, then the real thing can be taken just as light and less stressful on the morning of opening day.
5. Kids Choice Day
In the last few weeks, take a day when you let your kids choose an activity for the day. Full disclosure – this is not my favorite way to spend the day, but my kids get such a kick out of it and make it a nice way to end the summer season with excitement for them rather than dread, it is worth it. And if you’re like me, then you will set parameters on how far they can take this, so it keeps the day from getting too crazy.
So go ahead and get the end of summer blues out of your system. Change your thoughts about switching gears as a more positive transition for us all.