Homework, studying, cramming.
Notecards, textbooks, haircuts, dirty laundry.
Things get hectic. Fast.
And that's all the more reason clear communication, practical planning, and roles and responsibilities are all in place before after school practices and day jobs and teen romances take the wheel.
1) Success starts the night before
Few people are strong enough to deny the snooze button at the start of a new morning routine. And everyone knows time flies when you've got a million competing tasks on your plate in the early hours of the day. So set aside 20 minutes each evening to give yourself a head start on the day to come.
- Pack a lunch
- Set out clothes, sports equipment and backpacks by the car
- Double check that phones are charging, keys are where they should be, and everyone's clear on what time they need to be out the door
Education, new social pressures, and extracurriculars all weigh on the brain, body and psyche. It's absolutely critical that everyone in the house invests in their health by committing to no less than 8 hours of sleep each night. And we know what you're thinking! There's not enough time, right? Wrong. You'll have to limit screen time, say no to a few outings, face a little pointless nagging here and there, but the truth is that quality sleep restores your body's ability to analyze, perform and grow.
Brownie points if you can commit to the same 8-hour window most nights. The body craves such routine.
3) Maximize quality time and lessen device time
As more and more technology enters the workplace and our schools it's becoming increasingly more difficult to unplug. Keep this in mind as parents and students alike, when you finally are able to step away from your responsibilities. Can you store laptops, tablets and phones in a separate room? Can you limit Wi-Fi times? It's easy to lose meaningful moments with your most cherished people when the school year gets rocking and rolling. Use meals and commutes as an intentional time to check your relationships. Spark dialogue, gut check emotions, energy and egos. Is everyone doing okay? Is anyone struggling? What needs more attention? Who needs a hand?
4) Establish networks of connection
Your student will undoubtedly make new friends, acquaintances, teammates and connections. Parents should too. You don't have to be MVP of the PTSA, but it's important that you take the time to meet fellow parents, educators, coaches and students. Foster a network of accountability, support and communication. Do it before your stuck in a meeting, caught on the freeway with a flat tire or out of town on business. You'll be pleased to know the world is full of amazing people who are also on this school year roller coaster and little community goes a long way.
5) Keep the main things the main things
We can't define these for you. It's not our place. But school has a number of competing priorities: sports, grades, friendships, confidence, acceptance, health, credits, arts. These conversations between parents and students are invaluable. Your family needs to be transparent about expectations, priorities and how to achieve them. Put simply, if everything's a priority, nothing is. Don't allow your family to question the importance of these topics or they'll be left to chance and fleeting judgement calls that may not align. Set the entire family up for success by discussing what a model student looks like and what you hope everyone may gain from this year. The same goes for school challenges such as bullying, substances and beyond. Sure, the conversations may be awkward, but they're incredibly beneficial.
Here's wishing this year is productive, rewarding and enriching. The more you put in, the more you'll get out! Make it the best school year yet!