Winter break seems to fly by, but if you’re not ready for it to be over then you might be in a world of trouble. Kids require structure to help them ease into situations like school, so you might have to put in a little work to help make the transition from rest to work a bit easier for the children in your life. Luckily, there’s a few things you can do to make things a bit easier on yourself and the kids. These ten ideas should cut back on the stress of ending your vacation, while also helping you save some money in the long run.
1. Ease Into Bedtime
Schedules can get a bit off track during a break from school, which can cause a lot of stress when school begins again. One of the best things you can do is start easing your kids back into their school bedtime. You don’t have to force them to jump back into their schedule or even cut back on the days that they can stay up late. Instead, cut their vacation bedtime by a few minutes each day. By the time school rolls around, they’ll be back on their original schedule and well rested for the day. Of course, you might also exercise this tactic for yourself. This will help ensure you, too, are well rested and ready to take on the day. This will give you plenty of time to get up and ready, which will cut down temptation for takeout breakfasts and coffees.
2. Meal Prep
Meal prep is a great way for you to get on top of your game before the school rush begins. One of the best items to start with is breakfast. You can make an abundance of overnight oats, egg cups and so much more that can be heated up and served in seconds, so you won’t have to rush through a meal. These items can also be packed up and eaten on the way to school or in the school’s cafeteria. You should also consider making up a bunch of dump meals that can be frozen and tossed in the crockpot in the morning. Preparing lunches at the beginning of the week can also make getting out the door much faster. Another great item to prep is snacks, which will certainly improve how easy it is to get kids to settle down and work on their homework.
3. Organize School Bags
If you’ve ever looked in your child’s school bag after a few weeks of school, then you probably know how much of a nightmare it can be. Winter vacation provides the perfect opportunity to give your child a fresh start when school reconvenes. So, brace yourself and dump out the contents of your child’s bag. This will make sorting through the old assignments and other questionable items a breeze. When you have everything sorted, place homework and other assignments that your child might still need back in the bag. Then do a count of the school supplies that they still have. You should be able to find some discounts on these items due to the holiday season, so shop ahead to save. You can even organize your child’s bag to make it more efficient for school, which will save time and frustration. Cleaning and organizing will help you save some major money while making the transition back to school a little less stressful for you, your student and their teacher.
4. Make an After School Game Plan
School plans change from term to term, so you might want to sit down with your kids and work out a plan for after school. Before the term begins, you should talk to your kids about after school programs they are interested in. This will help you know where you need to be when, so no one’s schedule overlaps another’s. If your kids use the bus then go over after and before school rules and make sure you have a game plan for when the kids arrive at home. You should also make a schedule for homework, chores, play and meals to help kids move more efficiently when they get home. Planning your after school period will help kids ensure they get the stimulation and social interaction they need without forcing things to get too chaotic.
5. Go Over Skills
It’s pretty easy for kids to forget the things they learned before they left for vacation. There is a good chance that they didn’t retain a lot of information in the week prior to vacation as well, due to all of the excitement of the holidays. So, you might want to take their education into your own hands before the holiday is over. You can download homework that suits their school syllabi online, or you can work from one of their last homework assignments. This will help them brush up on the skills they were working on before vacation began, so they won’t be in shock when they return. Working on skills is particularly important when it comes to math as this skill does take maintenance. If you can, try to have students work on math throughout the holiday to make matters easier. You can even download some apps to lend a helping hand.
6. Manage Closet
Managing your kid’s closet and even your own can be an important thing to do before heading back to school. This gives everyone plenty of time to actually go through the closet and pull out the clothes they don’t wear or like. It also gives you a chance to have kids try on clothes, so you’ll know where they stand as far as their wardrobe is concerned. You might even pull out their spring and summer clothes, so you can get a general idea as to what to shop for. You can still find clearance items from last year’s stock of spring and summer clothes, so if you shop now you’ll be in for some major savings. You also won’t have to stress about not having a wardrobe ready when the warm weather decides to make a sudden appearance.
7. Organize a Carpool
Transporting your child to and from school can be on of the challenges that you’ll face when winter vacation is over. If you’re driving your child to school every day, then you might want to consider a community carpool. This is great if you have neighbors with children in similar grades, as everyone can take turns driving the kids to school. This not only helps everyone save on gas money, but it is much better for the planet. If you begin organizing the carpool during winter break, you should have plenty of time to get everyone together to make a schedule. This will help make everyone’s life easier while allowing children to bond with other kids as they head to and from school.
8. Clean Up
Winter break and the holidays can leave your home in a real mess. Children’s rooms particularly can become a disaster zone while they’re at home for so long. So, instead of letting everything slide until the kids go back to school, get to work on cleaning up sooner. This will give you ample help and will ensure the children move out of play mode and into work mode. This will come in handy when they have to sit still and work at school. Also, starting school up with a clean home will make it easier to fall back into line. It can also help fight illnesses that will certainly be going around as soon as school begins. So, clean to your heart’s content and keep the disinfectant handy, because this tip is bound to keep your family healthier and organized.
9. Enjoy an Outing
Winter break can fly by, especially since the holidays take up most of the break. However, before you send the kids back to school, you might want to share an outing with them. This doesn’t have to be anything particularly expensive either. For instance, you can check out a free day offered at the local museum, aquarium or zoo. Many facilities like to offer these days to the community every now and then, so you’ll have to keep an eye out. If you already have a membership to one of these facilities, then you might want to visit it a few times before sending the kids back. You can also pick something that everyone will love like a trip to the movies or a day of ice skating. Spending time together will help the children make memories that they will hold onto and share with their classmates when they return to school. It will also help cut some of the anxiety about going back to school, which will make transitioning easier.
10. Craft for Teachers
Spreading cheer can be a great way to break the ice when a new semester begins. Thus, helping your kids come up with a fun craft to gift to a teacher can be a lot of fun. There are so many gifts to choose from too, so you don’t have to stress over not being able to find a craft that utilizes supplies that you already have. There are many online options that you can check out for ideas, too. Your kids might have fun making a New Year craft for their teacher as well, which will help wish a teacher luck. Crafting also helps to take your kids’ minds off of homework, social interactions and other stressors they may have built up. If the kids are feeling ambitious then they can always extend their crafts to their class, which will help bring joy to everyone.
Winter break will be long gone before you know it. So, you might want to get a jump on things in order to save some money and stress. These ten tips should have you on the right track, so you can easily get back to the swing of things while enjoying the new semester all the more.