While the children of some of my friends, who live in other parts of the country, have already gone back to school, we here in Portland still have a good four-weeks before back-to-school time hits. While there is still plenty of time for trips to the pool, a few last camping trips and days at the beach, we parents would be wise to turn our thoughts ever-so-slightly towards the coming school year.

Now is a good time to take stock: when you think of back-to-school time what brings up feelings of dread? What seems easy; like you’ve got that part down? Which parts bring up conflict (part of you wants to sign your child up for that just-one-more activity and part of you wonders how you will make it back home in time for dinner if you do that?)

Some key things to remember while exploring what comes up when thinking about school days:

Apply heavy doses of Rhythm!
Those times or places that seem difficult, that always seem to be difficult, can usually benefit from a heavy dose of rhythm. What might this look like? So, if getting out the door in the morning always seems to result in a flurry of stress: ‘where’s my homework?’, ‘I can’t find my jacket’ or ‘Oh I forgot, we’re supposed to bring newspapers to school today,’ walk it back to the night before. Create a nightly rhythm, that can be done slowly and with a sense of joy, where everything for the next morning is taken care of: clothes are laid out (including shoes, socks & jackets) and anything special that might be happening in school the next day is discussed (a great way to de-stress as well as to find out if anything special needs to go to school in the morning).

Usually, doing less is the right choice.
While the idea of doing less is currently completely counter-cultural, for the culture of childhood, this is usually the right choice. Fewer after-school activities (especially if they involve driving time), fewer play-dates (I know, what?! Trust me.), less noise in the car (turn off the radio), even less talking (be quiet, Mom). Ahhh….

More back-to-school explorations will be coming soon, but for now, start with these two and let me know (via the comments) what you think!