What Will You Do When the Kids Go Back to School?

By Stephanie Thomas

School - Homeschooling

This morning, we dropped our boys off for the first day of school. In-person. 

In masks but, I repeat, in person. And then, walking back to the car, we talked about how cute they are. And how proud we are. Every parent does this, right?

After a bit of a break, I sat down to work on an assignment that’s stumped me for weeks. This one: What will you do when your kids go back to school? What will I do? 

A loaded question, right? After all, this might just be—fingers crossed—the first time in a long time when our kids get to experience the joy of learning in a classroom all year long, and we, as parents, can take advantage of the new-again structure, schedules, and routine. 

The start of school has long been lauded as the Second New Year—an opportunity to start fresh. And no school year more so than this one. So what will we do? 

I have a few ideas . . . 

4 Ideas for Starting Fresh This Back-to-School Season

Sneak in some (purposeful) adult time.

Yes, there’s work to be done and life to catch up on. Still. You just made it through a summer after a school year that followed that other summer after the original spring. You know the one. You need a breather that’s edifying. 

Take a walk around the block when your kids hop on the bus. Inhale that fresh air and listen to your own thoughts for a change. Meet a friend for coffee and chat about all things fun and meaningful. And if you and your spouse are both still working from home—lucky you!—plan a weekly date on your lunch break. 

Consider a new bedtime routine.

If you’re like us, you had a mini-freakout the week before school when you realized just how late your kids stay up and sleep in over the summer. Bedtime interventions were had. 

But what about us adults? I’m guilty of watching the late-night hours pass me by with another turn of the page in my book or the start of a new episode on Netflix. Time to find my way back to a bedtime routine that encourages quality sleep—and plenty of it. 

Remember: kids shouldn’t be the only ones learning.

Why should they get to have all the fun? When my boys hit me with all the letters, numbers, science, and history facts they’ve gathered at school, I plan to surprise them with a few new facts myself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even work on a skill or two. 

What better example can we set for our kids this fall than showing them the joy of being a lifelong learner? And if that’s not reason enough, studies show that pursuing curiosity and knowledge as an adult benefits your brain, finances, and friendships. A better example indeed! 

Hold onto simplicity.

As life ramps back up to normal, take a moment to reflect back on the good we gained from the last year and a half. Namely: a simple schedule. 

And while I’m so happy for our boys to be back in school and I’m so looking forward to baseball and Cub Scouts starting up again and I’m grateful for an upcoming increase in work, simplicity is something I’d like to hold close whenever I can. 

I’m hoping for easy nights, simple Saturdays, room for our family to breathe and relax and enjoy one another in the midst of all the chaos we’ve been eagerly awaiting. 

So tell me, what will you do when your kids go back to school?