Preparing kids for school year routines

Like it or not, it's that time of the year to start thinking about kids going back to school. All this week on the Morning Show, NBC15 is helping you get ready for the school year.

Experts say it's best to take time during the summer to plan out a school year routine, before school starts.

Brian Waszczyk, Sun Prairie dad of two, knows the importance of having a routine and sticking to it.

"It's the thing we basically live by," he said.

For his two young kids, Anna and Chris, the daily routine involves afternoon quiet time (or nap time) and an 8 p.m. bedtime.

"It's hard in the summer, kids are outside, they want to be outside... it's not even dark out yet, so inevitably it extends a little bit but we try to keep [bedtime] as close to 8 as much as possible," he said.

If routines aren't as rigorous in your house this summer, you've still got time to get your kids back into a school year routine.

"Usually starting some kind of bedtime routine about a week before you go back to school can be helpful, rather than just all of a sudden it's the day before school and everyone's scrambling," said Dr. Megan Jensen, family medicine physician with Dean Health System.

Jensen suggests gradually changing your kids' sleep schedules to get them awake earlier, and off to bed earlier.

If your kids are having a hard time falling asleep, institute a few minutes of quiet time before bed, without electronics. Make sure they don't have a TV or smartphone on in their room, and try darkening their rooms, Jensen suggests.

Along with preparing kids physically for the school year, you'll also want to think about preparing them mentally as well.

"Just recognizing that it could be a stressful time for kids and the more you can talk about it and have open conversations... I think that can help students just have a positive attitude when they come back," said Stephanie Leonard-Witte, Assistant Superintendent for Sun Prairie School District.

Waszczyk suggests finding the balance that works for your family.

"It's the summer... enjoy the summer. You can't always be strict on your routine but try to follow it as much as possible so it's easier in the fall," he said.

Tuesday on the Morning Show, NBC15 will show you some creative ways to get the most out of your back-to-school shopping buck.

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