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From EF to EBC: Celebrating Another Birthday!

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By Cassie Castro

Every time I complete 365 rotations around the sun, I take the time to reflect on where I’ve been to help reorient my trajectory. For my most recent celebration of me, I decided that a great avenue for this self-reflection would be on a hike … to Everest Base Camp (EBC).

Just a month before my departure date, I bought my plane ticket to Kathmandu, Nepal, and found an outfitter who would guide me from the foothills of the Himalayas to the heights of EBC. It was a spontaneous decision, and I was in a state of excitement and panic! I hadn’t trained a single day for this physically challenging adventure, nor had I started collecting gear for the trip.

Nothing calls on the use of strong executive functioning skills and strategies like solo travel! I immediately went into research-planning-execution mode so that I could prepare myself for this adventure. In order to make sure that I would safely and successfully reach EBC, I researched a bunch of things, including:

  • Weather. I researched the season and weather of the region during October to ensure that I would pack appropriate clothes.
  • Cultural Norms. I learned about the language, food, and social norms of Nepal – no social faux pas would happen on my watch!
  • Safety. I studied how to avoid mountain sickness. Having a medical emergency while celebrating my birthday was definitely not something that I wanted to experience.
  • EBC Specifics. I read about other people’s experiences on the trek, including how they prepared, what they experienced, and what they would have done differently.
  • Outfitter Specifics. I explored the group expectations and the trip outline in order to have a clear sense of the itinerary and rules.

Equipped with all the information that I needed, I was ready to start planning. There were so many details that I needed to plan for, including:

  • What to pack. Using what I learned about the weather, I packed versatile items that I could layer up and down. I had to be ready and comfortable in all of nature’s elements.
  • How to be a responsible visitor. As a traveler, I always strive to be respectful in any new place I go to while adventuring and exploring.
  • Staying safe. I followed the guidelines suggested by other trekkers and the outfitter that I would be joining. For example, I made sure to take elevation pills to avoid mountain sickness, and I packed light and only what was necessary.

Now, all that was left was to execute my plan. With one foot in front of the other, one day after the next, with the support of my fellow hikers turned friends and sherpas, and with research and planning, I executed my goal of making it safely and successfully to EBC! More importantly, it was a wonderful avenue for my self-reflection as I prepared to brave the next 365 days.

Erica MechlinskiFrom EF to EBC: Celebrating Another Birthday!

Taking Charge of an iPhone: Digital Minimalism

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By Jessica Bauman

I appreciate all the things that my phone does for me. It keeps me connected to friends and family. It helps me access information on demand. It’s a source of needed entertainment on my Metro commute. 

However, I’m also wary of how much of a time-stealer it can be. It’s easy to rack up screen time minutes I would rather be spending doing something else while just mindlessly browsing news or shopping sites. I’m sure this ambivalent relationship is something that you’ve experienced too! 

With the recent change of seasons, I’ve engaged in a bit of spring cleaning of my phone habits. I’ve found three easy changes that help me focus on using my phone for all the reasons I appreciate, while reducing the time “stolen.” These ideas boil down to a guiding principle of minimalism. They make my phone appear visually as calming and streamlined as possible. That way, when I first look at my phone, I stay focused on what I’m truly meaning to do with it.

I’m happy to share these three ideas with you now!

  • Widgets. My most frequently used, productivity-boosting apps are now widgets on my home page. A widget takes up more room than an app, so there are fewer things on the homepage to steal my attention. Widgets also display key pieces of information from the app, so I can often answer a question like, “What are my top reminders today?” without even opening the app.
  • Grayscale. An underused accessibility feature intended for people with colorblindness, grayscale makes everything on your phone appear gray, white, or black, like you’re looking at a non-color e-reader. This makes looking at the phone less fun and, frankly, less addicting. If I truly need to look at photographs or something with color, I turn the settings to color, then back to grayscale.
  • Unsubscribing. This positively impacts other devices I use, as well. For the past month, any time I get a marketing e-mail I don’t want in my inbox, I hit Unsubscribe. I do the same with “Report Junk” in text messages. Even in the first few days of this, I noticed a surprising reduction in the number of notifications received, and, even more importantly, in the number of e-mails or texts I had to look through (and later delete) to get to important ones.

Our phones have become crucial parts of our lives, but it’s important to not let them completely take over our lives! What are your spring cleaning goals when it comes to your phone?  

Erica MechlinskiTaking Charge of an iPhone: Digital Minimalism

From Indecision to Decision: Choosing the Right College for You?

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By Aileen Choi

March is an exciting time for many high school seniors as they begin to receive their college acceptances. However, it also marks the beginning of the difficult decision of choosing the right college to attend. The decision can be overwhelming, but with the right mindset and approach, it can also be a rewarding and insightful experience. 

When I was deciding where to go for graduate school, I was torn. I had narrowed down my options to staying in-state, where I could save money, or moving to New York, where tuition would be more expensive. As time passed, I became more and more confident that I was going to stay in Maryland. However, once Admitted Students Day for the school in New York came around, I decided to go to finalize my decision. Little did I know that Admitted Students Day had other plans for me! I met the professors, learned more about research opportunities, and met like-minded peers. I was particularly excited for the opportunity to join a research lab studying language in Korean-English bilingual individuals, as I am Korean-American. I made a complete 180 after this experience, and I decided to commit to moving to New York for school.

Here are some more tips that I used to make my decision:

  1. Determine your priorities. Before you make any decisions, think about what’s important to you. Are you looking for a specific program or major? Do you prefer a large or small campus? Are you interested in a particular location or climate? By identifying your priorities, you can narrow down your options from your list of accepted schools. 
  1. Do your research. You’ve already completed this step during the application process, but now you get to do it again with fresh eyes! Once you’ve identified your priorities, look at the colleges that best match your criteria. Look at their websites, read student reviews, and explore their social media accounts. This will give you a sense of the school’s culture, programs, and resources.
  1. Visit the campus. If possible, take another trip out to see the colleges that you are considering attending. This will give you a chance to tour the campus again, meet with students and faculty, and get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the school. You’ll want to make sure that it’s a place where you can see yourself being happy. 
  1. Talk to professors. Talking to professors can make a huge impact on your decision. Speaking to professors at Admitted Students Day allowed me to learn more about research opportunities and start building connections. You can ask about faculty mentorship, academic programs, or even what their favorite TV shows are! If you’re going to work with these professors for the next four years, you’ll want to make sure you can bond with these individuals. 
  1. Ask questions to current students. Talking to current students can also provide valuable insights. They can share their experiences about campus life, social activities, and academics. You can ask questions about the professors’ accessibility, how easy it is to form study groups, or what the best dining options are. Often times these candid conversations can reveal information about why students love their school. 
  1. Consider the cost. College is expensive, so it’s important to consider the cost of tuition, room and board, and other expenses. Look into scholarships, financial aid, and work-study programs to help offset the costs. Also, consider the long-term value of your education and the potential return on investment for your chosen field of study.
  1. After learning more about the school and identifying your priorities, you can organize your information through an Excel spreadsheet like the one below:

List the different factors that are important to you, and then use a -2 to 2 rating scale. Then, if you sum them up, you can see which option makes the most sense. As you can see, option 1 was the clear winner (which is the one I went with). You can see, however, that all of them were really great options.

Ultimately, the decision of which college to commit to should feel right for you. Trust your instincts and choose the college that you feel most excited and passionate about. Remember, you will be spending the next few years of your life at this school, so make sure it’s a place where you can see yourself thriving and growing. Good luck!

Erica MechlinskiFrom Indecision to Decision: Choosing the Right College for You?

Goals and the Environment

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By Colette Hapi

A few years ago, I took up the drums as a hobby. Initially, I was enamored with both the instrument and with the novelty of trying something new. Practice time was fun and frictionless to the point where I envisioned myself becoming one of the most popular modern female drummers; it would only take one or two years and I’d be at the top. Wishful thinking doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts. As you can imagine, life didn’t quite turn out the way I envisioned. After a couple of months, not only did I plateau, but I found myself dreading my practice time. Just thinking about sitting on a drum seat that had lost its plush in a room I considered to be cold and uninviting because I had somehow managed to turn it into a mini storage unit…just thinking about having to locate my sticks, my headphones, and my tablet…Sigh. Discouragement slowly set in, and I’d find myself thinking, “maybe tomorrow.” Tomorrow became tomorrow became tomorrow until it became two weeks; before I knew it, I would do in one month what I used to do in one week. Needless to say, I didn’t meet my deadline for achieving greatness!

Recently, I decided it might be time to pick up the sticks again and to do so more consistently. While aimlessly perusing the internet, I fell upon a book called How to Effectively Practice as a Musician by Benny Grebb. My first thought was, “it’s official; Google has ascended to the status of mind-reader.” My second thought was, “describing myself as a musician might be a bit of stretch at this point.” Nevertheless, I scurried to my room, located my credit card, and made the purchase. About a third of the way into the book, Grebb talks about the importance of creating an environment that supports your goals so that your practice can flow with the least amount of friction. The more friction there is, the harder it is to not only reach but even to just get started with our tasks. This hit me right in the face; no wonder I wasn’t looking forward to practicing – there were too many hurdles to me actually sitting behind the kit, not to mention the cold, dreary, and lackluster room. Nothing about the environment spoke of creativity, which made it hard for me to be creative. 

Taking Grebb’s advice, I made a couple of changes: 

  • I found another storage space in the house and completely cleared out my practice room
  • I purchased:
    • a sound-absorbing mat to avoid any complaints
    • a notebook dedicated to drumming
    • a dedicated music tablet, as well as headphones and additional drumsticks 
    • a music stand so I can stop trying to find unorthodox ways for the book to stay open while I attempt to play through its pages
    • an air freshener because I enjoy the smell of fresh laundry

It’s been a few weeks since I implemented these changes, but I’ve looked forward to practicing more lately than in the past few months. Stepping into a room that is ready-made has done wonders for my progress. Am I ready to go on tour? Maybe not, but I’m at least looking forward to the process. This whole experience has really made me see that if you’re not in a conducive environment, it can be hard to reach your goals.   

Erica MechlinskiGoals and the Environment

Setting Goals for the New Year

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By Kristin Backert-Evans

2023 is officially here! Honestly, I’m still not sure how 2022 is already over…wasn’t it just April last week? But since a new year is indeed upon us, it’s time for a tradition: to set some New Year’s resolutions!

On the surface, setting goals sounds like it should be the easiest thing in the world. Think of something that you want to do differently, say that you want to do it, and boom, you’re done. But thinking about goals in a superficial way makes it a lot harder to actually meet them. For example, one thing that I’ve been struggling with is how specific to make my goals. I know that I want to read more. While I usually read before going to sleep each night, that means that it can take weeks to finish a book since I have such a limited time in which to read. Initially, I figured that I could set a goal to read X number of books this year so that there’s a concrete, tangible number that I’m working towards. However, knowing myself, I would feel as though that number was looming over me, and I would feel soooo guilty if I didn’t meet it. And if I didn’t meet it, I would convince myself that every single other action that I took was wrong (if you hadn’t decided to watch that movie, you could have finished that book! If you hadn’t decided to play on your Switch, you could have finished another book! SHAME!). While I could revise my goal number as the months go by, I think that I would still feel guilty for not being “good enough” to hit that initial goal. Based on this, I’m going to set the specific goal of reading for at least 20 minutes during the day on the weekends. To me, that feels more realistic than telling myself to just magically find a way to read X number of books. 

Another goal that I have is to better my crochet techniques. I’ve made a lot of progress over the last 1.5 years, but there’s still so much room for improvement. With crocheting, I think that setting very specific goals would benefit me. For example, I could improve my ability to crochet in the row; for some reason, this basic technique gives me more trouble than it should. This is something very specific, so I could deliberately choose patterns that use this technique so that I have to practice it more frequently. I could also improve my sewing ability so that when I add limbs to a doll, they go on straight and don’t look like some flailing Muppet. An even bigger goal to work towards would be to write my own pattern, which would basically mean choosing a figure (e.g., a book/TV character, an animal, an object) and creating it from scratch instead of following a pattern that someone else has written. That would challenge me because it would involve a lot of trial-and-error as I figured out how many stitches needed to be in each round, what the design should look like, and more. These types of specific goals (as opposed to a more general “get better at crocheting” goal) will help me to, hopefully, improve at a faster rate. 

When you’re setting goals for this New Year, remember that you can make goals as specific as you want! There’s no wrong or right way to do this – the important thing is that you set goals that you feel comfortable with and believe are realistic. Let us know what you’re working towards this year!

Erica MechlinskiSetting Goals for the New Year

Wrapping Up the Year with Gifts

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By Aileen Choi

Every year, my extended family gathers around the Christmas tree to enjoy a home-cooked meal and exchange gifts. As a child, I always loved our delicious potluck dinners and the joy and merriment of the gift exchange. While I always enjoy the festivities now as an adult, it definitely requires some executive functioning skills to successfully carry out, especially when my extended family includes 15-20 people! While everyone has different holiday traditions, here are a few things that helped me prepare for the gift exchange this year: 

  1. Create lists and brainstorm. I list all of my family members and do a bit of brainstorming before immediately clicking over to Amazon to buy things. I ask myself, “What are their hobbies? Have they mentioned anything recently that they wanted? Have they started a new chapter in their lives (e.g., college, new job)? Do they prefer a practical gift to a fun one? “For example, I know that my best friend has gotten into baking cakes recently and wants a decorative book for her coffee table. I figured that the best gift for her is a nice-looking baking book. Once I’ve decided and bought a gift for someone, I check it off my handy list.
  2. Utilize a hobby or skill. For the past few years, my aunt has been making her own organic creams and soaps. I appreciate a hand-made gift, so I always look forward to receiving one – plus, she can make them in a batch! Similarly, my grandma loves to make jewelry, so she makes necklaces for each of her granddaughters. If you’re stuck on an idea for a gift, see if there’s a hobby or skill of yours that you can put to gift-giving use!
  3. Budget. Gift-giving can be expensive. To make sure I’m budgeting appropriately, I use a Google spreadsheet to keep track of my purchases and pick a limit for each gift because it can be easy (and quick) to spend over budget.
  4. Start early. I usually start buying gifts over a month before the exchange so that I can take advantage of Black Friday sales. Sometimes I even start earlier in the year – summer sales can be the best time to snag a deal for winter goodies.

Of course, the holidays shouldn’t be a stressful time, and there are many ways to make sure it is a fun one instead (luckily, we decided on a White Elephant this year). Regardless of how your family likes to celebrate, there are many ways to help you enjoy the process. Happy holidays, and let the gift shopping begin! 

Erica MechlinskiWrapping Up the Year with Gifts

Moving Across the Country 

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By Katarina Yngente

About three months ago, my husband, our 15-month-old daughter, and I set out for our biggest adventure as a family to date: moving across the country. My husband had just landed his dream job at a university in California, 3000 miles away from Washington, DC, where we lived at the time. My husband and I were no strangers to the stresses of moving. In five years, we had logged five addresses in three different states. Having each also completed a cross-country move once before, we were seasoned. The wildcard in this move was our fiery, newly-toddling toddler. 

Moving is inherently stressful. While physically laborious and emotionally demoralizing, moving also requires executive functioning and project management skills. Some of the logistics we had to deal with included finding a new rental in California, securing childcare, establishing the date of our move, working within a budget, finding a moving company, filing for change of addresses on important documents, and shipping our car. Like any large undertaking, moving is actually made up of many parts that can further be chunked into a number of smaller tasks. Once my husband and I identified the “smaller projects” required to move, we established a plan of attack. Here are a few things that helped us get through the move: 

  1. Teamwork (with division of labor): In order to get through the laundry list of tasks and projects, my husband and I opted to divide and conquer, to play to our strengths and approach the move with a clear division of labor. For example, I’m more of a people-person, so I took on tasks related to calling various moving companies and servicers so that we had data to compare prices. My husband is a minimalist and Tetris master, so he tackled the purging and packing. 
  2. Asking for (and accepting) help: We’re so fortunate to have friends and family who offered ways to support us during our transition. Many friends offered their stories and recommendations for similar moves. Our families also offered to help us pack. The biggest barrier for us was knowing when to accept help. This was especially beneficial with our daughter because, as we learned, it’s very difficult to pack boxes around toddlers who enjoy unpacking and climbing into boxes. 
  3. EF tools: For the two months surrounding our move, our household was controlled by spreadsheets, calendar events, and lists. The very apps and programs that I encourage my students to use were the same that helped us manage our move. Our top tools were Excel, Trello, and Google Calendar.

Three months later, I admit that we’re still not fully moved in – we still need to put up artwork, and each closet has 1-2 boxes that still need to be unpacked. Regardless, the hours spent planning and strategizing were all in service of a fairly well-executed move. We found a great daycare just blocks from our new rental, and aside from a couple of arguments, everyone made it through relatively unscathed! 

Erica MechlinskiMoving Across the Country 

Celebrating Spooky Season?

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By Kristin Backert-Evans

It’s October, which can only mean one thing: it’s FINALLY spooky season! Yes, that’s right, dear reader; I am indeed one of those cringe millennials who celebrates the spooky atmosphere as much as possible. This year, I’m aiming to inject a new type of spookiness into my world. About a year ago, I shared how I was learning to crochet. I’ve learned (and failed) a lot since then, and one of my goals for spooky season is to make some Halloween-themed crochet critters!

While it sounds easy – “oh, just make a ghost! Or a witch!” – it’s a little bit more complicated for one such as I. I’m one of those people who need a pattern to follow. Some people, like my sister-in-law, can look at an object, visualize how they would create a crochet version of it, and then just freehand it like BAM! At this point in my crafting life, I’m nowhere near that skillful and need to follow a pattern that someone else has written out. So first, I researched different patterns of critters that I might be interested in making, like Oogie Boogie from A Nightmare Before Christmas, a Frankenstein’s monster jellyfish, etc. Then, I compared patterns. Patterns can be written in all sorts of ways, so it was important that I find ones that I understood. Once I had that sorted out, it was time to begin crocheting!

Or was it? As I pondered which piece to make first, I started thinking about creating pieces with a spooky twist. For example, I’ve loved the Pokémon franchise since I was a kid, and my nephew recently became obsessed with the show (I am a good influence, as you can tell). So to celebrate spooky season, I figured that I could make a Bulbasaur…but with a pumpkin on its back instead of its usual bulb! 

My next step, after locating and choosing Bulbasaur and pumpkin patterns, was to set a goal for myself. With a full-time job, it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation to do something fun when you feel like you just don’t have the time. But crocheting is something that relaxes me (and frustrates me to no end, which makes for a lovely paradox), so I knew that making time for this hobby was important. Knowing myself, I decided to set some weeklong goals. For example, I wanted to create each piece of the project (e.g., head, body, legs, pumpkin, etc.) in a week’s time. Crocheting is something I can typically do while the TV is on or if I’m listening to a podcast, as the background noise helps me to better focus. My next goal was to sew all of the pieces together in 2-4 days. Sewing is probably my least favorite part of crocheting…mostly because it’s so difficult and time-consuming. My sewing technique has gotten better recently, but this is definitely a step that takes a lot of my concentration. For example, this is NOT something that I can do while watching House of the Dragon, nor is it something that I can do at night; natural light makes it a lot easier for me to see what I’m doing. So knowing those limitations, I set a goal to sew everything together in less than a week’s time. That meant that most sewing took place on the weekend when I’d have longer blocks of time to attend to my darning needle.

So you might be wondering: did she succeed? Is her apartment filled to the brim with spooky critters? Well, yes and no. I’m writing this at the end of September, so I still have quite a way to go. But I can update you about my little pumpkin Bulbasaur! After crocheting his head, I ran into a problem – where should his eyes go? It sounds like a silly question, but this was the first time that I was making a critter that stood on all four as opposed to sitting on its butt, which impacted the angle and location of its head. I ended up placing the eyes in the wrong spot, but I didn’t let that discourage me! Okay, maybe it discouraged me a little. I managed to find a workaround, though. After that, I somehow made one ear almost twice as big as the other! Honestly, I have no idea how that happened. Maybe some ghost came and messed up my stitches. Regardless, I made a new ear that was the proper size. Once all of the pieces were made, it took forever to sew them together. Well, okay, maybe not forever, but it took a few hours to get that darn pumpkin sewed on. 

Here’s what the little spooky lad looks like!

Are there things that I could have done better? Absolutely. Am I proud of this little guy? You bet. You don’t magically become better at a new skill overnight, and I’ve come a long way since I first started crocheting. We still have weeks to go in spooky season, and I’m excited to continue making scary critters!

Erica MechlinskiCelebrating Spooky Season?

School Year Traditions

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By Madeline Albertine 

The school year is officially in full swing! As students transition back into school mode, it can be a time that is both exciting and challenging. Getting to see friends daily, meeting new teachers, and participating in school clubs/sports are all aspects of the school year that can be enjoyable for many students. For students who love their summers, though, it can be hard to get back into the routine of waking up early, going to classes for several hours, and completing homework. Growing up, my family had many traditions that helped make the transition from summer to school more exciting. 

The start of a new school year often brings about back-to-school shopping, whether it be clothes, shoes, backpacks, binders, etc. My family held a “fashion show” for us to model all of our new gear, and we absolutely loved it! Some years this consisted of many new outfits that we modeled for the family: cool T-shirts, fancy overalls, and sweet new shoes. In other years, we showed off our new backpacks and all of the new school supplies inside them. I highly recommend trying this out and that you get creative with it – take pictures, play music, put up scorecards, and more! 

Being back in school may also mean packing lunches ahead of time. Growing up, my mom often placed notes in our lunchboxes that brightened our days in elementary school. These ranged from simple “hello” messages to more creative mini games. I remember my mom once put a paper maze in my lunchbox, and my friends and I sat around it trying to figure out how to go from point A to point B. Whenever she put games in my lunchbox, it made it a lot easier for me to talk to the person sitting next to me. Who doesn’t love connecting the dots, solving riddles, or playing tic-tac-toe?

A new school year also means that you aren’t with your family 24/7 the way that you might be during the summer. When I was younger, my family used dinner as a time to check in and ask each other about the day. We went around the table, and each family member talked about either the best part of their day or one thing that they learned. As we got older, we didn’t always have the opportunity to eat dinner together due to crazy sports schedules. When that happened, we tried to spend 20-30 minutes each evening playing a boardgame that gave us that time together and opportunity to talk as a family. My family often played Monopoly and set the timer for 30 minutes. This helped ensure that we got to spend time together without taking away from the need to do homework or get to bed on time. We also tried to have a monthly dinner out or special meal at home to celebrate each completed month of the school year! 

Make this school year the best one yet for your family. Devise new family traditions and get your kids involved in the process! 

Erica MechlinskiSchool Year Traditions

Transitioning from Summer into the Academic Year

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By Colette Hapi

Summer is a time to play, to explore, to be outside, to have fun, and to carelessly throw caution to the wind. During summer vacation, time and structure often lose their meaning, and academics can be thrown to the side (right now, hundreds of kids are probably insisting that they’ll get to their summer homework eventually). With all of these things at play, it’s no wonder that the transition back into school can sometimes be physically, emotionally, and mentally hard for both kids and their parents. We’re about a month out from the start of a new school year, and as stores begin putting out their “Welcome Back to School” supplies, parents might be Googling “best ways to get my kid ready for school without losing my mind.” While every child responds differently, here are some of the methods that my mom used to help me get ready for that inevitable return to school.

  1. Fix sleeping schedules. About a week or so before the first day of school, my mom established new bedtime rules. No longer could I stay up according to my whims and wake up late; instead, she started to adjust my bedtime and wake-up time by about 15 minutes each day. I grumbled, but it did help my body’s internal clock readjust to school times. That first week of school wasn’t as bad as it could have been since my mom made me essentially practice waking up and going to bed early. 
  2. Establish a routine. I don’t know about you, but my summers were usually unstructured. For the weeks that I didn’t have camp, I was free to sleep in as late as I wanted, go see my friends when I wanted (within reason, of course), etc. School is all about structure, so it can be hard for kids to get back into the habit of needing to transition from one class to another to sports to music practice and more. About a week or two before school starts, it’s helpful to have your kiddos practice a weekday routine. Even if it’s something as simple as having breakfast by X time, walking the dog at Y time, and doing chores at Z time, establishing a routine before school starts can make it easier to readjust. 
  3. Reduce screen time. Back when I was a kid, screens weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are now. Sure, I occasionally played on the computer, but I had strict limits since doing so meant that I tied up the phone line. Nowadays, kids are on screens all the time, both for school and for fun, and they may use technology as an avoidance technique. With a new school year approaching, this is a good time to establish limits on weekday TV and technology use. Instead of limiting screens too quickly, try making a gradual transition, such as by switching out a video game or TV series for a non-screen hobby. This will be simpler than forcing kids to abruptly stop using TikTok or Minecraft! Incorporating board game nights with the family is another terrific approach to reduce screen time.
  4. Review ground rules. School might be the last thing on many students’ minds, but it’s something that they’ll have to grapple with sooner rather than later. And with that grappling should come a discussion of ground rules. Kids can feel blindsided if too many changes are made at once, so using those last few weeks of summer vacation to establish ground rules can help reduce resistance that they might muster. For example, my mom and I discussed whether I could watch TV once my homework was done, how late my friends could stay on school nights, and what chores I had to finish in addition to my homework. It’s not a fun conversation, but setting rules and discussing them together will ensure that everyone is on the same page once school begin.

The transition from summer vacation into the new school year can be hard, but there are steps that you can take to reduce extra stress! Let us know which method worked for you and how your kiddos are preparing to take the 2022-23 school year by storm. 

Erica MechlinskiTransitioning from Summer into the Academic Year