Summer fun brings family fun!
We naturally celebrate summer by changing our routine. Camp replaces school, vacations become the norm and homework becomes a distant memory. Until the first official back-to-school notice arrives.
It’s a transition for everyone, both mentally and physically. Here are some tried and true tips to facilitate the process:
Create a routine and ease into it: Involve all family members into creating the schedule for school as well as the transition routine. If bedtime has been lax, start working on a routine. If TV time has been unlimited, start cutting back to realistic school levels.
Promote organization through conversation: Most people think of organizing as the physical act of putting things in the right place. But organizing is also a mental process and a great way to encourage organized behavior is through conversation. Taking the time to talk about what you did today and what you plan to do tomorrow is a way to teach sequencing skills and demonstrate how what you do today impacts your plan for tomorrow. Dinner time is the perfect venue for these type of family conversations.
Move from organization to executive functioning: While regular conversations focusing on planning promotes organized thinking, taking it to the next level will promote executive functioning, a set of essential mental skills which help you manage time, pay attention, keep your life organized and more.
Some of us are born with natural executive functioning skills. Others need to be taught.
Here is what we recommend in my practice:
- Designate a quiet, neat, clutter-free area for homework with easy access to all school-related supplies.
- Make “organizing the backpack” part of the nighttime routine. You can either do it together or have your child do it under your watchful eye. The ultimate goal is for them to eventually do it regularly on their own with a thorough cleaning every Sunday.
- Shop together for school supplies that are color-coded. Visual cues are super-helpful for executive functioning,
My final tip: Celebrate! Create a “School-Year’s-Eve” party or a “Back-to-School Bash” and focus on the positive. You set the tone, your children will follow the lead.