*For Immediate Release
Back to School and On to a New Routine
By: Jenny Cox
As the Mississippi summer heat blankets the last days of August, the 2019-2020 school year is in full swing for students across Mississippi. From preschool to Pre-Med students, the lazy days of summer are long gone and being replaced with busy days of routines, homework and fall activities.
For parents, the daily demands make most of us feel like we are on a hamster wheel of endless spinning from one task to another. Our mornings begin with predawn alarms, followed by cooking breakfast, preparing school lunches, and then on to frenzied morning commute through congested roads to arrive to school and work all before 8:00 a.m. As the day continues, it is full of to-do tasks and routines and it seems finding a balance in the middle of the chaos to enjoy moments in these fleeting days is hard to grasp. Consider these four tips to make this school year more enjoyable and easier for you and your family.
Today’s Tone Started Last Night
We’ve all had those mornings that we thought, “If only I had just one more hour of sleep,” or “I should have done this last night!” It really is true that the actions of last night set the tone for today. Spending extra time preparing in advance for that busy morning routine helps the next day run more smoothly. Take the time to set aside clothes for school and work, have lunch boxes ready and an idea of meals that will be prepared for the next morning. Every extra minute counts in the mornings and the extra work completed the night before gives you that valuable time the next day.
Early to Bed and Early to Rise
A good night’s rest these days seems to be underrated by our busy society. Yes, there are nights when parents have to take care of sick children, catch up on loads of laundry after bedtime, and finish work projects. On those nights when the routine is normal, don’t let the time tick away and waste the potential for a full night’s rest scrolling endlessly on social media or watching a show on Netflix. Decide to change habits that interfere with your rest and will leave you feeling rushed the next morning.
Become intentional in going to bed earlier as well as setting a consistent bedtime for your children to be able to get the recommended amount of sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease. How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
Learn to Kindly Say No
The fall brings on a barrage of emails for volunteer opportunities at your children’s school, social media posts about the must-do after-school activities, and endless possibilities for weekend events that fill the calendar.
There are plenty of activities and opportunities to say yes to participate in – whether for your children or as parents. Ask yourself, “Is this one extra activity worth the frenzied time in the car to rush my family to and from one activity to the next?” “Is this volunteer opportunity worth my children having to stay often with babysitters?”
The author Lysa TerKeurst stated in her book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, “Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else. Make sure your yes is worth the less.” Her statement is so simple, yet powerfully true.
It is important for us as parents to ask ourselves if the yes is worth what we are saying no to – if that volunteer opportunity means us saying no to home-cooked meals for our grade school kids, is it worth it? If that one extra activity means saying no to a relaxed and rested child on school nights, is it worth it?
Reserve your yes for places well spent with your time because your time with your family and loves ones is a commodity that you will never get back. In the long run, squeezing in that extra activity to add to your daily calendar will just drain you and your family and make for grumpy kids and unproductive parents.
Among the Busyness, Find Time for Gratitude
When we really think about it, those loads of laundry, constant grocery store runs, hectic morning commutes, busy afternoons, and early mornings all mean that we have much to be thankful for. We have loved ones that we are able to care for, a job to pay the bills, and a life that we are able to live. In the middle of the chaotic week and clutter at home, think about what it signifies that we have people to love, places that we are needed, and another day to be grateful to live. When you close your eyes tonight for rest, be thankful for this day and grateful that you have life to share love with others and live with gusto!