Back to School, Back to Reality: Tips From a Teacher

You had a wonderful, stressful, exciting, busy holiday season. You spent time with friends and family. Your house is probably a mess and you’re worn out, but by golly, it was worth it, right? That’s how it typically happens for me and I love it.

You probably snacked way too often on those special, once-a-year treats, stayed up late gabbing or watching old movies, turned off those pesky alarms and slept in to your heart’s desire, and wore your pajamas around the house as often as possible. Sounds pretty great, right?

But all good things come to an end.

I usually try to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, typically until the night before. The realization that we have to return to work — school — the next day hits me pretty hard. Yeah, teachers are just as psyched as the students to get back to school. It’s really hard, but it’s even harder to try to get back into those nicely timed, organized routines.

If you’re smart about it, you and the kids really should stick to your schedule the entire break, but who really does that? You can start getting back into the groove the few days leading up to the big day. Start by getting back onto a normal eating and sleeping schedule (yep, alarms). There’s nothing worse than returning to school and work completely groggy and confused. Your body will thank you for the discipline.

I’m always amazed at the number of kids who go to school dressed completely inappropriately for the weather. Kids go outside for their bus, to enter the school, for recess, and to leave. And classrooms vary in temperature as well. If you’re someone who already dresses your kids in layers, thank you. I also recommend writing your child’s name in their garments, so when they slip off their bodies during the day and magically get forgotten, you will have a hope of seeing the items again.

It also helps to set out clothes the night before. I’m an adult and I try to at least think about my outfit the night before, but I feel the most on-the-ball in the morning when my outfit is laying out, ready to go. It’s like it’s saying, “Hey, Girl, you’re ready for this day. There’s no need to stress about an outfit. You’re going to look fabulous because you planned ahead!” (Or at least I think that’s what my outfit says.)

We’re pretty much in the time of the inevitable return to real life. But don’t sweat it; the New Year you is going to be ready.

Do you and the kids have trouble getting back into a routine after the holidays? —Katie

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