It's that time of year again. Time when the kids go back to school, parents give a celebratory high fives, and relish in the fact of finally getting back to routine.
But is it really that simple? After becoming accustomed to a particular summer routine, sometimes it isn't so easy just to hit the brakes and transition to a new one.
Let me be frank--I don't have kids of my own, so I can't speak to this personally. But I do have many friends with children, I have step daughters, and I know a thing or two about switching routines.
I, myself work nine 12-hour night shifts in a row, then I get 12-14 days off. During those 12-14 days off, I often try to switch back to a "day shift" schedule. This always sounds super simple in theory, until it isn't. My body really gets into that nigh shift routine and when I try to abruptly switch it back, it is met with a LOT of resistance.
I've spent the last two nights wide awake (despite taking sleep aid before bed) to the point where I've said screw it...and just got out of bed and got stuff done. Seize the moment, right?
What's my point here? Don't beat yourself up if your back to school transition doesn't go as smoothly as you planned it. It's a course correction for everyone involved and it's going to take time to iron out. Here's my top 5 tips for surviving a tough transition in your routine:
1.) Expect setbacks. If you go into this knowing there will absolutely be hiccups, you won't be as discouraged when those hiccups actually happen.
2.) Allow time for the transition to stick. It's probably going to take 1-2 weeks before the dust settles. Be patient and....
3.) Take it one step at a time. You truly can't expect an overnight success. Work on transitioning slowly. Crank back bedtimes 30 minutes at a time, work on preparing 2-3 out of the 5 lunch meals at a time and working your way up to 5, slowly transition back to after school routines. Don't expect to implement everything at once. You'll completely overwhelm yourself and everyone involved.
4.) Somehow make it fun and roll with the punches. Get creative and see how you can make the transition fun. Delegate am or pm tasks, use a sticker chart or check box chart and reward the kids with a fun family outing on the weekends. Or insert whichever idea sounds fun to you. The more fun you can make something, the better.
5.) Remind yourself that you matter, too. I feel like back to school time often becomes 100% about the kids. And yes, mostly it is. But you can't give from an empty tank. Make sure you're taking at least 30 minutes a day for you. Whether that is reading a book, exercise, meditation, listening to your favorite podcast, or dancing in your living room....you have to fill your cup before you can give to others.
The only constant in life is change. We all go through transitions of routines that are met with resistance. I hope these 5 tips can help you navigate through your next transition a little more smoothly.
To your health!
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