Note: This back to school guide was originally posted in August 2015. The year may change but the challenges a new school season brings stay the same. Enjoy this throwback guide to getting the school year off on the right foot, and good luck to stoner parents everywhere!
The Back To School Rush
I’ve written up a nice little guide to help stoner parents get ready for the upcoming school year. I mean, we all want to go home after school drop-off and comfortably get stoned right? Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
- How to get your child’s brain back into “thinking mode”- even if you let them watch Kung Fu Panda every day for the past three months.
- The major skills kids should review before school starts.
- How to build a morning schedule that will work, and how to get everybody in the house to follow it.
- The number one conversation you should have with your child before school begins.
Counteract the ‘Summer Brain Drain’ and Prepare your child for Academic Success
Uh Oh, did mom slack off and forget to make the kids practice their math this summer? The Stoner Mom’s girls go to a school for advanced academics, meaning they get way more drama from their mama if skills disappear over the summer. Here’s my two-week plan to get their brains back in shape:
Review rules and guidelines for screen time and device use. I am not one of those parents who is all anti-technology. You won’t find me raising my fists and bitching about how kids these days spend too much time with their eyes on a screen.
Parents are responsible for teaching children the appropriate usage of these devices. What that means to each family is different, as everybody’s values are different. I was raised by a dad who worked on the computer all the time. To me, that’s what a “working dad” looks like. A guy on a computer. My first husband demonstrated that and so does my second. And me? My children see a woman who listens to history podcasts on her Macbook while making dinner. When they sneak into the kitchen to steal snacks they have to creep around me as I’m typing away on my blog. So, the point is, we are very much a family of gamers and computer nerds. Top to bottom and extended family included.”
Reading. Reading out loud, with expressive voice. Reading at previous grade level comfortably.
Writing. Younger ages should practice 1-4 sentences with accompanying drawn and colored picture. Older ages can write a full-page, on varying topics of interest to them. Have them write by hand, type on computers, and text on tablets.
Mathematics. Particularly memorization and other skills that will be useful for the upcoming year.
Remind them of the activities they participated in during the summer. You’d be surprised to know how many warm up exercises and school discussions will begin with talking about what everyone did over the summer. You’d be equally surprised that your child will completely forget that you took them to museums every month, had swim lessons, went to Disneyland, and will instead report that they “forget” or “don’t know”. Remind the kids that they saw Mt Rushmore in May, so they don’t totally embarrass the family name this August.
The Talk. Always have an age-appropriate sex talk before the year begins. Start with the basics, then open the floor to their questions. Establish right NOW that talking to you about these things is comfortable and non-judgemental. The more you can prepare your child before some ignorant kid at school starts telling them things, the better off your child will be. Don’t leave them ignorant and susceptible to the grooming or unrealistic fear. Establish these conversations with you as normal, as early as possible.
At-School Health and Safety. Hand washing, going potty, wiping and hygiene. Blowing nose, when to go to the nurse, when to ask to come home, protocol for drop off and pick up, where you will be, who is allowed to pick them up, a meeting place for the year, anything you want the child to know as they are out in their (protected) world on their own. Knowing that you told your child these things is as much for your mental health as it is for their safety.
Have a plan for breakfasts, and make sure the children understand expectations. Choose a handful of tried and true, easy to prepare, and consistently enjoyed, breakfast meals, and stick with them. Having four ideas written down and hanging on the fridge can save your ass on the day you slept through the alarm and are barely getting out of the house on time.
The Night Before
About two weeks before school starts, it is wise to start working on getting the kids back on a reasonable schedule. Kids that are especially effected by their sleep routine will benefit from an even longer adjustment period. Staying up late in the summer is mandatory for most kids, but that will bite everyone in the ass if you don’t break them from the habit before the alarm goes off at 6:00 am.
The Gentle Way to Get Your Kids To Adjust Their Bedtime
To determine a bedtime, begin with the time your child must be at school. Then, working backward, figure out the time needed to drive to school, what time you need to leave the house, how long it takes for your child to get ready and eat a healthy unhurried breakfast, and that will bring you to the time the child needs to wake up. From the time the child needs to wake up, subtract the number of hours the child needs to sleep, and that will bring you to their bedtime.
wake up time – 10 hours = bedtime
Making Daily Routines
Having a few routines that you use throughout the day is an excellent way to get your autopilot brain doing exactly what it should. I’ve written before on how important building small daily routines are.make a morning routine for the family, sit down with your timeframes from the last exercise handy, and sketch out a simple timeline for your family’s typical morning. Start with the time the each child needs to be where, and work backward, filling out the empty time slots with the essentials that must get done. Not a lot needs to happen in the morning, so try to use few steps. Some parents find success having their kids use a visual morning checklist. My girls are creatures of habit so all it takes for them are a couple of mornings of the same thing and boom. Routine established.
As important to the well-being of the child as the morning routine, is the afternoon and evening routine which encompasses everything from homework to laying the groundwork for a good nights sleep. Routines are all about autopilot; developing healthy habits so deeply ingrained that the brain can focus on other stuff while autopilot takes care of the basics.
When the evening routine for the kids concludes, I am free to run my nightly beauty routine, and there is no stress about when am I going to get a chance to do it, because the chance has been carefully built-in to mine and my family’s daily schedule.
Preparing in advance for an organized school year can go a long way in making your days run smoothly. Give everyone in your family an increased chance at daily success by keeping them motivated to stay organized. When you send those little love creatures of yours out into the world, knowing that you covered all these subjects will ease your tension and let you actually enjoy those few hours of quiet freedom every day.