There is always a buzz in our house once the end of summer/start of the school year starts. Maybe it’s because I am a teacher and it signifies new beginnings, but in my opinion, there is so much more importance to a new school year than a new calendar year. Anyone else? I love buying new school supplies, sneakers, lunchboxes… really just the whole process. However, the new school year means a return to structure and routine that we forgot about all summer long. AND IT IS HARD. I started thinking of all the ways that I try to make the routine/transition easier and hopefully sharing them can help a few other people.
1. Do homework/Check homework as soon as kids get home: We usually have snacks right when the kids get home and then do homework immediately so the kids can have downtime when they are done. If we wait till later, they are tired and cranky. My younger kids have a whole week to finish their homework, so we tend to save it for the days when they do not have after school activities. It feels less overwhelming this way.
2. Do instructional reading earlier in the afternoon: Most kids are assigned a certain amount of independent reading a night. Saving it to bedtime can be tedious for many kids because they are wiped from the day. We usually do the more difficult reading earlier in the day (sometime while they are eating snack) and save the fun read-alouds for right before bedtime.
3. Get backpacks ready: My kids are responsible for unpacking their bags every day when we get home and then getting them ready by putting them by the door for the next day after homework is done. I make sure to look through all their papers and sign anything that needs to get signed as they unpack. This way, they know that they are responsible for their own things and they are not scrambling the next morning to find their things.
4. Lay out clothes: My kids now wear uniforms to school (LOVE IT) but even so, they can be picky about what style of uniform they want to wear. Picking out clothes the night before cuts out all the morning time battles and makes for a much smoother AM routine.
5. Make Lunches: Not sure if others dislike making lunches as much as I do, but I have a very hard time with it. I find making them the night before also makes for a much smoother routine. Check out our instagram for easy lunch ideas.
6. Relaxation time before bed: Create a nightly ritual with your children before bed. It can be reading all together, watching a show, having the kids read, or look at books independently in bed. Giving them 15-30 minutes of downtime before bed can help them get to sleep earlier.
1. Breakfast: Having a plan for breakfast always helps me cut down the stress on school days. Some days I can give myself time to make a bigger breakfast, while other days I know we are rushed and it’s cereal for everyone. I love @rachelmansfield’s ideas for make-ahead breakfasts.
2. Reading/spelling: If my kids happen to wake up early or we have some few extra minutes in the morning, we try to get our reading/spelling practice done so the kids have more time in the afternoon.
Feel free to reach out if you have any amazing tips we should try!
Happy New SCHOOL Year!
About Little Learners and Donna:
Here at Little Learners NYC, we believe that each child should be treated as an individual and different learning styles should be celebrated. We provide one-on-one tutoring sessions for remedial work and enrichment in Literacy and Math. Additionally, we provide test preparation services. Our group classes are designed to spark a love for different topics such as Science, Math, STEAM, and Books.
We love working with children and feel so lucky we get to do what we do! Collectively, we have over 45 years of classroom teaching experience. We have worked at the top independent and charter schools in the city and are now taking our love for learning and teaching to Little Learners of NYC. Additionally, with kids of our own, we have a true understanding of the whole child.
Our Co-founder, Donna, is an early-childhood expert with over 18 years of experience and a diverse background, including positions at The Dalton School, Harlem Children’s Zone, and as an Adjunct Professor for Early Childhood Mathematics at Hunter College. Donna believes there is no better feeling than teaching a child to achieve something he or she felt impossible.
Co-founder, Cortney, has over 14 years of classroom experience at the JCC of Longmeadow, Montclare Children’s School in Manhattan and taught English in Paris, France. She holds a dual Masters Degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education. Kids love her wacky humor and her silly jokes.