Whether we like it or not, it is time to let our teens go back to school. Most years this is a sad time for me, reflecting a huge reduction of time spent with my kids fooling around during lazy summer days, but not this year. I am welcoming the school year this year because I actually only had a couple of lazy days with my kids while touring colleges and volunteering at the wolf sanctuary this summer, and am hoping the school schedule will at least bring them into the house!
With school comes scheduling homework and family time, transportation issues, the need for earlier bedtimes, conscious meal and chore planning, the addition of school activities, committees, and sports and arts events. If you have a senior, the college application and scholarship application activities have already begun, and as you well know, will take a huge amount of time this Fall.
Remember to check in with your kids about these changes and make conscious adjustments to your schedule, meal times, bedtimes, and agreements about sharing family time to avoid tired cranky teens. One way to accomplish this is to have a back-to-school family meeting and do things including make a weekly schedule of activities and/or chores, discuss that schedule, negotiate chores, use of car, privileges, curfews, bedtimes, etc... I always believe it is better to talk about these things up front, over tea or a bowl of frozen grapes before you are in a position to be calling for bedtime or the completion of a chore faced with a tired and stressed teen!
As teens get older they just get busier! Whether they work, do volunteer work, or are active with music, sports, art, hobbies, relationships, friends, or school leadership, they are just really busy! If spending time with them is a priority for you, it becomes increasingly challenging to carve out and spend non-production-focused time with them, but the challenge is worth the outcome! Good luck finding time with your teens and welcome to another school year!