In my own informal survey parents split 50/50 on whether the start of the school year is a time for celebration or sorrow. As much as I love the extra time to travel summer vacation brings by the tenth week of summer vacation I'm usually hungry for the structure and routine of the school year. Even though I welcome the start of school I know it will be a transition and that transition will be bumpy and unpleasant if I don't do a little preparation in advance.
No one, least of all me, wants to run around at the crack of dawn trying to find lunchboxes and backpacks that have been mothballed since June. But digging out supplies, transitioning kids to a school oriented bedtime and back to school shopping is the obvious stuff. Less obvious tips that have worked wonders in our home involve getting the kids in the right mindset and making sure our technology is up to par for school year demands.
How much work it is getting your kids back into the mindset varies by child and by the activities they've been involved in all summer. In summer I like to let the kids relax over the summer and see the value in letting them get “bored” find creative ways to fill their time. However, if I also sprinkle in some activities that are mentally challenging over and insist that the kids keep reading not only limits summer slide but can also make them feel less rusty when homework kicks in. As the school year gets closer I also like to challenge them with some educational apps so screentime isn't all just mindless. The trick is to find apps that are fun enough so the kids don't even notice that there is an educational component. Our two current favorites are MadLibs and SushiMonster. The Mad Libs app has been great fun for the whole family and has been a great way to sneak in some work on the parts of speech. SushiMonster is a fun and challenging way for the kids to brush up on their math skills too. We've made some of our summer trips into mini research projects too. I like to ask the kids to do a little online research about the places we are visiting. We've turned the results into a dinner time quiz game where the kids try to stump the parents.
Making sure we are set up for success from a technology standpoint wasn't something that initially occurred to me as a part of my back to school prep until a couple years ago. One fall evening our internet connection seemed to grind to a halt. When I tried to figure out the cause I realized both my husband and I were trying to get some work done while simultaneously streaming some music, in the other room one kid was streaming a video, another was downloading a book and our oldest was trying to complete an assignment for a coding project. It was all too much for our internet connection and did little for family harmony. I did a little research on how to test my connection speed and called Xfinity to signup for speedy connection the very next day. Now we can make sure work, homework and family fun happen without interruption all fall. Now, each year as summer winds down I do a little of what I consider ‘fall technology maintenance': I check our connection speed, make sure we've done all necessary software updates, and eliminated any extraneous apps from all our devices.
If we lay the groundwork now we can set the whole family up for a great school year and leave time for family movie nights too!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of XFINITY. The opinions and text are all mine.