Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

Transitions are hard for kids. They are hard for adults.

Maybe you have enjoyed the summer playing and having a more flexible schedule. Maybe you have struggled with a huge number of different schedules as you’ve managed different childcare situations over the summer. Either way when school starts, both you and your children will be making a shift to the rhythm dictated by school schedules. For most of us it is a familiar rhythm – but unpracticed.

What kinds of things change for your family?
Getting up at a different time?
Packing lunches?
Packing schoolbags/briefcases?
Picking out clothes?
After school sports?
Making time for homework?
Dinner time?

Those are a lot of changes that happen in a very short time and often creates a week or two of chaos until the family readjusts.

What can you do to make it better?
• Sit down as a family and make a list of the things that have to happen for each member of the family to get to work/school.

• Think about what things can be done the evening before. Even though it is a little more work at night, mornings go much more smoothly if there is less to accomplish. The evening list could include: packing lunches, packing school bags/briefcases, picking out clothes. It might even include setting out the breakfast dishes.

• Have each person draw or write their own evening check off list.

• Plan for some time for family connection in the evening (a short story, a song together, sharing what you are thankful for etc.)

• Plan for some short connection time in the morning. (It could be eating breakfast together, reading a short story, snuggling for a few minutes on the couch or even a ritual handshake that is your secret code for “I’ll be thinking of you.”) Connecting before going out into the world eases the transition for your children.
• For more on routines.

SAVE THE DATE! We are having a community gathering on Sept 26th at the Phinney Center. Details coming soon.

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