Back To School Eve... Are You Ready?

Twas the night before school started
when all through the town
the parents were cheering
it was a riotous sound.

By eight the kids were washed
and tucked into bed
when memories of homework
filled them with dread.

New pencils, new folders, new notebooks too,
new teachers, new friends, the anxiety grew.
The parents just giggled when they heard of this fright
and shouted upstairs-GO TO BED-IT’S A SCHOOL NIGHT!
— Author: Unknown

Where did Summer 2018 go? In the blink of an eye, here we are on what is for many, the eve of the first day of school.  If you're like many parents, the beginning of school is met with mixed feelings. It is sad to see the summer go (And most of us are not at all ready to see Christmas trees already up in stores!), but looking ahead to a new school year holds its own excitement too! 

As you count the required #2 pencils, crayons and composition books; bag up the glue sticks; label the backpacks and get all of the ducks in a row, we argue that amidst the chaos, back to school season offers a new opportunity to do something different this school year.

It could be a positive change in your evening schedule, an enhancement to family time, taking advantage of a new extracurricular activity for your child, just to name a few. Don't let the overwhelming pile of school supplies, back to school clothes, schedule demands, or entrance into this busy season get the better of you. Check out these tips and find at least one way you can enhance both your child's back to school experience and yours. 

1. Populate your calendar. For alot of us, this isn't our first back to school rodeo, but still somehow, year after year, things have a way of sneaking up on us, don't they? Most schools offer a list of important days to remember – conferences, concerts, professional development days. Plug it all into your calendar or cell phone now so you'll be prepared.

2. Streamline school lunches. If your child plans to take a lunch to school, pull together all the plastic containers and thermoses. Having your kids' favorite fruits and snacks on hand could get them more excited to pack their own lunchboxes.

3. Set up for homework success. Whether it's in their bedroom or a corner of the kitchen, set up a spot that's dedicated to homework. Make sure it's well lit and away from distractions like the TV, tablet or cell phones.

4. Organize your entryway. It all collects right by the door, right? Cubbies and wall hooks can simplify rushed mornings.

5. Pack it up. Pencils? Check. Ruler? Check. What about extra shoelaces, band-aids or hand sanitizer? Pack a life's-little-emergencies kit in a zippered plastic bag that can live alongside the textbooks and gym shorts. 

6. Wind down the bedtime. Help kids ease back into school-year sleep schedules with a consistent evening routine to wind them down at night.

7. Make time for fun -- for your child and YOU. Now is a great time to register your child for Fall Youth Sports at the YMCA. And remember, financial assistance is available to those who need it (call or visit your local Y for more on financial assistance). As for you, Parent's Night Out at the Y can be the perfect way to de-stress and chill. Check out this program and when to find it at your area branch. 

8. Back to health. Get your mind back in gear and return to healthy habits like colorful meals, planning time for exercise (whether you need a trainer, want to exercise on your own, or participate in one of 350+ group land or water exercise classes offered association-wide). 

9.  Listen to your kids. Anxiety and nerves can take over, so provide a safe environment at home and in the classroom. Talk to kids about bullying and what to do if they encounter it.

10. Relax. Whether it's adding in exercise time into your day, stepping out of the office and grabbing fresh air, reading a book, meditating, or a host of others, remember to relax. Mind. Body. Spirit. The health of one is directly tied to the health of the others. 

In closing, remember the Y is here as a resource for you, your children, and your family unit as a whole. On behalf of all of us here at the Y, we wish you and your families a Merry Back to School morning!