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Monday, August 22, 2016

My Favorite Family Back To School Ritual: the Dry Run

Today is my first day back at work (students start next week), so I guess it is now officially Back to School! The hardest thing about starting school as a teacher/mom? Mornings. Man, as a morning person I never understood what all the fuss was about when parents talked about dreadful school day mornings. I get it now. Today I wanted to share my favorite trick for getting all of us ready to go back to school: the "Dry Run".

The basic idea behind the Back to School "dry run" is to practice getting ready for school in the morning before you have the actual threat of being late for school and/or work on the first day of school. Everybody gets up at the same time, gets all of the same stuff ready, and leave the house at the same time, but you don't actually go to school! I'm sure other parents do the same thing, but if you haven't yet and would like to try it, here are my tips for making it work:

1. Do it several days before the real first day of school

Because school started on a Monday this year, we did our dry run last Friday. Actually a few days earlier would have been great, but Friday was the best day for our schedules. I always do the dry run a few days before the real first day so that I have time to make changes to our morning routine if something doesn't work, and we all have a few more days for our bodies to adjust to the new sleep schedule.

2. Actually go somewhere

I think what helps make the dry run most effective for me is that we actually go somewhere. I usually try to make plans with someone to meet them somewhere for a play date or breakfast so that we are actually committed to being somewhere on time. It also makes the morning a little more fun for the kids because they have something to look forward to! This year we met my mom at IHOP and had an epic breakfast :)

3. Practice your routine too

The dry routine is really for me more than anyone else, although it does help the kids get used to getting up and at 'em again before the Big Day when they're more emotional. Because let's be honest: as much as I foster independence in my preschool age children, and as much as they do things on their own pretty well for 4-year-olds, the biggest key to school morning success is me, not them. So I get up and get all of the same stuff ready that I need on school mornings too: purse with all of my work stuff, lunches for everyone, etc and even making sure I have decent clothes. I actually put on earrings! There were several times Friday morning when I realized I had forgotten all of the STUFF I do on school day mornings. Oh boy.

4. Don't neglect first day jitters

Even after practicing everything, we all know that a "dry run" is still not the same as the real thing, when we all (kids and adults) have so many mixed emotions about the first day of school. I always allow extra time in the mornings the first few days of school to allow for potential meltdowns, or just general contemplating.

Do any of you do a "dry run" before school starts? What are your favorite tricks for helping your family adjust back to hectic school mornings?

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