I feel like I could sleep for the rest of the week and still be tired.
We are in the middle of our third week of school. I have been doing this homeschool thing for six years. Prior to that I taught in public education for four years. Way before that I have 13 years of grammar school and six years of high education.
One would think that I would not be surprised by the complete fatigue that hits at the beginning of the school year.
However here I am wondering why my eyes can barely stay open past 8pm and planning that night’s bedtime as soon as the alarm goes off in the morning.
We are off and running on our sixth year of homeschooling. This year we have jazzed things up a bit by adding a second co-op. If one is fun, then two must be a blast, right?
The reason for the addition was to have a structured classical model guiding us each week. Also, the kids needed to take chemistry this year. I pretty much sat through high school chemistry with a confused look on my face so outsourcing this subject was a no-brainer for me.
Everything else is fairly routine around here. The extra cirriculuars are slowly picking back up. I am back to pinning crock pot recipes that I will actually never try. The lazy days of summer are starting to fade from memory as we remind ourselves how we do this how school/life thing.
Summer is a time when most families can dodge the clock and enjoy countless hours of carefree fun. There are no more “school nights” , no more early mornings trying to rouse children from their beds, and minimal bedtime battles during the carefree summer months. As August is settling in, back to school time is around the corner and children’s haphazard sleep schedules of summer are coming to an end. Many parents struggle with helping their children make the switch from the lazy days of summer to the more scheduled, routine days of the school year. By beginning the process of making such a switch before the school year begins, parents can help children’s internal clocks be ready when that first school bell sounds.
- Schedule the day. Get children in the mindset of school by establishing a routine into their final summer days. Set specific times for waking-up, eating, and going to bed. Summer fun does not have to end quite yet, however help children prepare for the upcoming school year routine by establishing a schedule into that summer fun.
- Have a wind-down activity in the evening. No child is going to be able to easily transition from riding bikes around the neighborhood with friends and then going in straight for baths and bedtime. Limit vigorous activity about an hour before starting a bedtime routine. Instead, encourage children to participate in quieter activities before bedtime. Such activities could include playing board games together as a family, working on an art project, or attempting to finish a puzzle. Quieter activities allow the body to naturally begin to prepare itself for sleep.
- Create a peaceful environment. As bedtime approaches for children, alter the environment of the home. Switch on some soft-light lamps and turn off the overhead lights. Reduce the noise level by turning televisions off and putting on some quiet music. This shift in environment allows the body to know that rest is coming. Also consider the environment of the child’s bedroom. If the last rays of sunlight are shining through windows, cover them with an extra sheet or blanket (this will not be a problem once Daylight Savings Time arrives in the Fall). If little ones are a bit scared of their rooms, send them to bed with a special animal or blanket. Also consider have a soft noise machine or quiet music playing in the child’s room to muffle noises from other parts of the house.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Many families choose for children to bath or shower in the evening. Decide what things need to be accomplished before children can go to sleep and create a bedtime routine. A younger child’s bedtime routine might include picking up toys, taking a bath, putting on some pajamas, reading a book or two with Mom and Dad, and then crawling into bed to go to sleep. An older child’s routine might include showering, reading or listening to music, and then heading to bed. Limit screen time in front of the television before bed as it can actually hype children up rather than making them sleepy.
- Be consistent. Once a bedtime has been decided upon and a routine created, stick with it. Teach children the importance of sleep and the benefits gained from getting a good night’s rest. Doing so will allow parents to crawl into their own bed at night knowing their children will be bright-eyed for that upcoming first day of school.
Does anyone else drool over the back-to-school aisles that are popping up in neighborhood stores?
All the rows of pristine boxes of crayons, crisp notebooks and tidy paperclips make me just a bit giddy. Back to School time is the only time when one can snatch up a box of crayons for 20 cents or nab a group of pencils for a penny.
I love Back to School time. It is a season of fresh beginnings where one can embrace the prospect of starting something new.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be doing a Back to School series here at savethephillipsfamily. This series will cover a variety to topics regarding sending children back to school, whether that means sending little ones off to preschool, herding older children off to a brick and mortar school or simply clearing the breakfast dishes away to settle into a day of homeschooling.
Until then, I am off to purchase just one more box of crayons….