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A new school year

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Back to basics

The school year has started. We are in the midst of the start-up busy-ness: reestablishing routines, filling out forms, making sure we have all the right school supplies, dealing with beginning of the school year anxiety, remembering to do homework, and the like. It's an exciting and exhausting time.

Back to basics
I really enjoyed our summer. We had a lot of fun and we did what we "needed" to do, on an emotional level. I was not and am not ready for it to end. But end it must. That said, there is a regularity to routine that I enjoy about the school year. A level of consistency to the days and evenings. As busy as we are, school year or summer time, regularity of routine is good for all of us.

A bumpy start

The routine, however, won't feel comfortable for several weeks. I expect hiccups and moans and groans from all of us for a short bit. It's a transition, afterall, and I need to respect it as such.

During the first weeks of school, I try to get and keep the family routine to its most basic. While I like to take the kids out for ice cream after the first day of school, otherwise it's simple: home and school and fulfilling household responsibilities. It sounds boring, but it's really enough when were trying to get up early and make buses and remember which days are gym days after a summer of lazy mornings.

Add new things slowly

Once the basic routine is established, we can reintroduce the special things. Thankfully the people in town who organize things like soccer leagues and other extracurricular activities are of a like mind. Having everything start up at once would be too, too much.

By mid-October, I expect everything will be smooth. At least I hope so. By then the weather will have turned a little bit and it will just feel like were doing what we are supposed to be doing. We'll find our stride for fall, just like we did for summer.

As long as I respect and remember that this is a transition, I think we'll all do well. Having a little bit of understanding and flexibility at the right spots - even while establishing routine - can actually help it establish the routine a little faster. As with so many parts of parenting, it's all in the balance.

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