While the start of the school year seems far away now, it has a way of ferociously sneaking up on parents and kids alike. I usually first notice the desire and anticipation at the end of July, as we are waiting for class assignments and that slow shed of hazy summer schedules. This year, Oak is also going to the same public school as River, which is a big deal for our family! And with this huge milestone, I find myself asking, how can I instill confidence in both my kids and myself as we face this new routine.
In partnership with Target, I wanted to share 5 ways I plan on instilling confidence in myself, River, and Oak, as we all begin a new year. Ahh, here we go!
So, let’s start off with the hardcore truth: the general vibe of the mornings depends mostly on me. Yes, me! Kids are moody, difficult, and sometimes not as excited or willing as we’d like them to be at 6:30 AM (understandable). What if we were able to combat that? Last year, I learned that particularly difficult mornings were often due to what I lacked, whether it was sleep, time alone to answer emails, a moment to light a palo santo stick, or even just meditate for 15 minutes. If I am not good, I can bet on the whole morning going down hill.
1. So the simple but large answer of instilling confidence in my kids starts with just making sure I feel confident. For me, this starts with a little alone time. I wake up an hour or so before them (this is so important!), and I check off little things that make me feel present and capable during our school day mornings together. I even work a little, because getting emails out before I start to receive more helps me feel ahead of the curve.
2. One of my biggest things I’ve tackled over the last few years is my personal relationship to breakfast. So even if its fruit, granola, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread, I have to eat just one small thing and drink water. It makes a huge difference in how I handle our mornings.
3. Breathe! I know things will always be a little bit all over the place, no matter how much I prepare. Acknowledging our routines and how we feel about them deserves attention and shared language. So before the school year starts, I’ll be talking to the kids about what’s expected; how they can be amazing students and peers; and how we can work together as a family to have a great school year. With this foundation, when we are down to the wire in the mornings, we will have a way of talking through it. I think language, putting words to emotions, chaos, excitement, or routines makes it all better.
4. Plan dates with new friends and old friends. This is something that helps builds relationships, while also reminding my kids that even though it feels like things are changing, much stays the same. We keep a few important constants: bedtimes, friends, and play dates with those we love! My kids thrive in consistency.
5. Music! While I play music throughout the whole morning to set the mood, we must also have a full-on dance party before we leave the house. It focuses our energy, gets some wiggles out, and sets a fun tone for the day. Then we come up with quirky little songs on our walk to school. This is by far my favorite part of the mornings!
I know that there is no perfect path, and the start to the school year (and remaining summer!) will be full of its own bumps in the road. Still I really believe in having the tools–both those within ourselves and those we literally need (pencils, pens, etc.)-–can make those bumps as milder and easier to handle.
I would love to know, what are ways you instill confidence in yourself and your kids as you begin a new school year?
(This post is sponsored by Target, but all opinions, tips, and storytelling is my own. Thank you for supporting those that support LaTonya Yvette. Photography by Stephanie Stanley for LaTonya Yvette.)