NEW YORK — As a new school year approaches, the YMCA of Greater New York recognizes that getting children ready and prepared with all the of the things they need for a successful day at school can be a stressful and time-intensive process. To help alleviate some of these difficulties, New York City’s YMCA recommends ten ways parents can organize the back-to-school routine and eliminate manic mornings:
- Get Yourself Ready First: Like airplane oxygen masks, it is important to prepare yourself before your children. Being awake, alert and ready to go before your children get up will provide a good example and keep you from scrambling to get yourself ready at the same time.
- Create a Routine: Morning rituals – which can be as simple as getting up at the same time, brushing your teething and tying your shoes – help eliminate questions and provide a stable schedule.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep: According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average preschooler sleeps 11 to 13 hours a night. By setting an early, scheduled bedtime, your children will be well-rested and better prepared for their first day of school.
- If You’re Stressed, Your Kids Will Be Too: As hard as it is, try not lose your cool if your child wants to change her/his clothes for the third time in half an hour. Maintaining your equilibrium will keep your kids on an even keel as well.
- Lay Out Outfits in Advance: That said, help prevent last-minute costume changes by having your children pick out their clothes before they go to bed.
- Keep a Bag Packed by the Door: Go over your school’s supply list the night before and pack backpacks ahead of time. Having a ready-to-go bag hanging by the door will save you time when you’re ready to leave.
- Prepare Lunches the Night Before: Don’t default to PB&J every day. Planning and preparing lunch the night before is a great way to decrease your morning time crunch.
- Make a Practice Run: The first day of school is not the time to find out it takes ten minutes – not five – to get to the bus stop. Walk to the bus stop or drive to school the week before to familiarize yourself with the time constraints.
- Give a Five-Minute Warning: Right before it’s time to hop in the car or walk to the school bus, remind your kids that they have five minutes before it’s time to leave. Giving clear instructions and setting an easy time-table will give them time to get ready.
- Put a Note in Their Lunchbox: The first day of school can be time of anxiety for any child. A loving note in their lunchbox will let them know you are thinking of them and give them a pick-me-up during their first day.
About the YMCA of Greater New York
The YMCA of Greater New York is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves New York City’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In scores of neighborhoods across the five boroughs and its camp upstate, the Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower more than 500,000 New Yorkers to learn, grow and thrive. Visit ymcanyc.org. Follow us on Twitter @ymcanyc and Facebook at facebook.com/ymcanyc or visit www.ymcanyc.org.