Back to School!
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Many of our kids (and possibly ourselves) are back to school now. If they’re not, they’ll be starting soon enough.
Getting back into the swing of things after a Summer break can be a bit challenging. I thought I would share some tips that we follow to make it a little easier. I hope this can help some of you out there.
Homework / Study Tips
Communicate with your child’s teacher:
My son has ADHD & ASD. He has always seemed to have “good hours” during the day & traditionally through the years, he starts losing patience & focus about 5:00 pm, no matter how much sleep he has, what he eats, when he takes medicine… Nothing matters, he enters “the witching hour” in the evenings. One year, when my son was in Elementary School, his school started later in the day. He would get home about 4:30/4:45. Trust me when I say, there was NO homework getting done at that time. It was just way too late for him. So I spoke with his teacher about the problem & asked if we could have his homework the weekend before the week it was due. She was completely on board with it! This gave he & I the chance to go out to a library or bookstore early Saturday morning & knock his assignments out for the week. When he can focus & hold it together he is a very smart kid & the homework was extremely easy for him. This worked great for us & may be worth a try for you.
Allow “Brain Breaks” during studying & homework time:
ADHD or not, I think everybody, even myself, as an adult that just returned to college in my 40’s, needs to take “Brain Breaks”. For those of you that have never heard of them, basically a “brain break” is exactly what it says. It is a 2-4 minute break from the homework to do something fun & energizing, a chance to shake the wiggles out & return to the homework with a fresh new focus. Some activities to do are a quick dance party, yoga stretches, hopping on 1 foot or watching a brain break video. There are so many options, just google Brain Break and you will be amazed at the great ideas out there!
Provide a clean, uncluttered area with no distractions:
It is so much easier to focus on the homework/ reading when there is nothing around to look at or play with. Nothing to start a conversation about, just the books/ notebooks/ worksheets that’s it!
Allow time to rest, if needed:
Being in school all day & then coming home to more work is really tiring! Sometimes they will just need time to rest their bodies or even just their eyes for a bit. That’s ok, let them. Agree upon an acceptable rest time & set a timer, let them put their head down, eyes closed for that time. Hopefully, when the time is up, they will feel a little more rested & ready to tackle the work again.
Provide a healthy, inviting snack that can be eaten during homework:
A lot of people like snacking while reading or doing homework, but let’s face it, snacking on candy & junk is not healthy at all. I try to have a bowl of grapes, apple slices or carrot sticks right there, ready to grab. It helps keep the energy up & satisfies that munchy feeling in a healthier way.
Early morning tips
Prepare clothes the night before:
This has been said over & over again in every article I’ve read & every conversation I’ve had. It is one of the oldest bits of advice out there…..but, it works! Get your child & yourself in the habit of preparing clothes the night before. This includes shoes, backpack with all books & assignments, sports or work uniforms, instruments, PE uniforms…anything at all needed for the next day. Trust me this prevents a lot of craziness in the mornings! Where are my shoes? You have to sign these papers! I forgot to wash my shirt for work! Can you drop my soccer bag off to the school, I forgot it? The list goes on & I’ve heard them all through the years. I am definitely getting smarter as I am moving through the years with my kids! 🙂
- Prepare lunch ahead of time:
I don’t just mean the night before, I mean for the week. When my kids were younger, I had a lunch bowl for the week, 1 in the refrigerator & one in the cabinet. The refrigerator bowl would hold all the refrigerated items that they needed for lunch in 1 place – For example each day they would grab: 1 bottle of water, 1 bag or container of cheese cubes or a cheese stick and pepperoni (if that was lunch for that week), 1 bag or container of either carrot sticks, green peppers or cherry tomatoes, 1 yogurt and 1 apple, clementine or bag/ container of grapes or melon. From the cabinet bowl, they would grab 1 bag or container of crackers (to go with cheese & pepperoni) and 1 bag or container of cookies, chips, pretzels etc. Boom! Lunch is done! This worked so well for us.
Set alarms on phone for things your child needs to do in the morning:
Many kids nowadays have a smart phone. For my son (remember: ADHD, ASD), we use the alarm function for everything. Even now at 14 he uses it & sets himself reminders of all sorts of things. The alarms he has set for the morning are the “get dressed” alarm, “eat breakfast” alarm, “brush hair & teeth” alarm, “take medicine” alarm and the “grab backpack & go to the bus stop” alarm. This keeps him on track & focused on what he needs to do & when he needs to do it.
We try to play happy, energizing music in the morning. This helps to wake everybody up & set the tone of the day to a positive & fun vibe.
Get up early:
Last but not least, get up earlier than you think you need to. No, I’m really not crazy. 🙂 This is especially hard if your kids have to start school early like mine do. Connor has to leave at 6:00 am & Molly has to leave around 6:15 am. We used to get up about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before they had to leave, just enough time to get dressed, eat something, brush teeth & go. It was always so rushed though & it was full-on chaos & stress if something didn’t go smoothly like they didn’t realize the clothes they picked out had a stain, they spill their drink on their clothes, they struggled a bit getting up & actually got up 10/15 minutes after I woke them, or even one of their pets got sick & they had to clean it up. So, we have found that just getting up 15 minutes earlier than we used to helps eliminate some of the unnecessary panicked feelings if there is a wrench thrown in our morning somehow. We get up at 5:00 am – it is early, but the mornings are going pretty well now & if there is extra time, it gives us that 10 minutes or so to pray together, talk about the expectations for the day, give a pep talk for an upcoming test they have that day or just let them cuddle with one of our pets for a few minutes.
I hope these tips can help decrease or eliminate the back to school craziness that happens to so many of us this time of year!
Please comment below if any of these work for you or add some of your own tips to help each other!
Remember: Each day is another opportunity to be the BEST YOU that you can be!!! Don’t waste that opportunity!!
Love ya all!