Summer is a “NO ALARMS TO WAKE UP TO, EAT WHEN HUNGRY, GO TO BED WHEN TIRED” wonderful season and very quickly coming to an end!!
My kids’ sleep schedule has been “when I’m tired of them” all summer long. After all – that’s what vacations are for, minimal rules and relaxed bedtime routines and if you’re anything like me you pick your battles wisely!! Now that school is just about to start (I know how did that happen – I am not prepared! But happy nonetheless!) it’s time to get the little angelic devils back on a schedule.
Here are a few tips to help you get ready to get back to school:
ROUTINE: a quick yell “go brush your teeth and wash your hands and…sure wear those clothes to bed” isn’t going to cut it anymore. “Make a checklist for your child to follow — bath, brush teeth, book, bed,” then work with a chart – some like stickers, others need a bit larger prize to keep them engaged. I created (well stole)MAMA BUCKS from some show the kids watch?? – every time they do something kind, listen to the task asked and complete it, clean up their room etc… I give them a MAMA BUCK, when they do something unkind, don’t listen, talk back, fight with a sibling etc… they have to pay me a mama buck – once they reach 10 mama bucks they get a good prize (depending on me and my wallet that week will determine what they can choose from – movie night, dinner at their restaurant choice, a new toy…) sometimes those bucks add up quickly but that means your child is doing great – works for me! Of course my child has paid me many bucks if they’re struggling but you can be the judge and even things up!! Buy them a cheap wallet and they feel like they’re working too! Keep it exciting.
Set back the clock: push back bedtime 10 to 15 minutes earlier every night and wake them up 10 to 15 minutes earlier in the morning until you’ve gotten back to school sleep patterns.
Prepare for activities: here we go with sports, swimming lessons, dance, playdates and every other extracurricular we squeeze into our fast paced lives! Make a calendar with “who goes where” to make life simple so everyone can see (even dad) where we all need to be – this will excite the kids which will help with the bribery at bedtime! Don’t forget to mark your child’s birthday down and check out our birthday themes that will suit your child’s time of year to celebrate. Many of our clients who have winter birthday children opt to celebrate at home with the family to keep it simple and then have the outdoor celebration in the spring or summer to include your child’s friends! Par-T-Perfect also has GREAT indoor themes to suit your needs!
Reduce clutter and get organized! Go through the drawers and get rid of those stained/torn items, then whatever might be a bit snug or your child simply never wears – donate – there are many children in our own cities with less than we can imagine and your child will feel “their own act of kindness” when he/she knows something they never wear is going to help a child who has nothing! Same with the toys, books etc… give your kids a garbage bag and let them go for it. If you plan to shop before school starts tell them to do this first to add incentive!
Finally, enjoy the last days of a chilled summer schedule. Then get those kids to bed early!