It’s time to “turn the page,” “turn over a new leaf,” and to “start fresh.” We’ve all heard those lines before. As we wind down from summer and gear up for the start of another school year, it’s time to take a closer look at why we say these lines and what they can mean for you and your family. As August wraps up and September begins, we begin thinking about school supplies, new shoes and new schedules, but it can also be a time for a fresh start with a focus on family.
Over the course of a school year, families can get into the rhythm of routines. Those routines are the backbone of raising children and help us to stay focused and on top of the countless to-dos for every day. But when summer hits and the schedules all change, we tend to lose our grip on the school day’s structure and do our best to reassemble it in time for September.
As much as we all know that happy parents equal happy children—and vice versa!—it can be difficult to “turn the page” or “start fresh” when all our attention focuses on our kids and their needs. What if we took some time to “start fresh” with a focus on family? So often in a family, moms and dads put themselves last. We prioritize our children and let our own needs fall by the wayside.
So what are some great ways to start new habits and traditions as we say a slow farewell to summer?
Let’s break it down into three parts.
Communication For September
We all want our kids to tell us how they are feeling. What’s happening in their lives away from home? What are their hopes for the days and months ahead? It seems that the times to have those conversations are hard to pin down. Often they are rushed as we hustle out the door.
Try starting a new September tradition of communication at breakfast by asking your kids every morning one of these questions: “What do you hope happens at school today?” or “What was your favourite part of yesterday?” or “How are you going to make today a great day?”
You don’t need any new parenting skills or seminars to ask a few questions, and the feedback and trust that can build with the daily breakfast questions can lead to wonderful conversation and insight into your kids and will encourage your children to start thinking about what to say if they know the questions are coming…and make sure your kids get to ask you a question too. ;)
Ships in the wind? Finding it hard to hang out? Too tired at the end of the day to talk? Use the September transition to pause and start a new tradition just for the parents. These can be as simple as a daily walk around the yard after the kids go to sleep, make some tea and play some cards or take 10 minutes to ask each other about your day. Or get together with a friend for some adult company.
Find out how you can support your partner in the week ahead. Let them know what you need and work to find ways to make it happen.
There is a reason your partner fell for you and vice versa. Maybe it was playing guitar or your love of bike riding and the outdoors. Whatever it was, look at where you are at the end of summer and make new plans to do those things and do them as a family.
If music is a love, then it’s time to start family jam sessions! If it’s the outdoors, get back to camping, even if it’s a tent in the living room with a bag of marshmallows.
Your kids know you better than you know yourself, and finding ways to keep them involved with what you love builds strong connections. They’ll love being a part of what you love! And you get to get back to your passions. Now that’s a leaf we’d all enjoy turning over.
As the air cools and the rains come make this the “season for change.” Use this time as a reset for family and sneak into those school day routines things for parents and kids, to keep working at building a strong family.