Parents experience a range of emotions as they think about getting back to school and summer activities winding down. Many are glad for the emerging routine of school while others are sad to see the summer months fading away. Here are some helpful hints for you and your family to ease into school-year routines.
- Even if your children are very young and attend only child care and/or preschool, you have probably kept a different schedule during the summer than you typically do in the fall and winter. Since young children thrive best when they are in a routine with a very predictable bedtime, they will enjoy getting back on a schedule after vacations, family visits, etc.
- Describe the routine to even the youngest child. Don’t forget the power of your words, no matter how young the child. Describing what you are doing, when bath time is coming up, what we are doing for bedtime, and why it is different than the previous routine will go a long way in helping the child understand. Children deserve the respect of having an adult explain to them what is going on in their world.
- Communication is the key when making changes. If your child is older, this is a good time to have a family meeting to discuss bedtime. If her bedtime has been 8:30 p.m. but she is moving into a higher grade that merits a later time, first discuss a change to 8:45-9:00 p.m. Even a 15-minute change can make a young child feel empowered. Also, consider this idea when extending your child’s bedtime: If she has to be called more than twice to wake up, her bedtime goes back to the original time until she shows that the new time is enough sleep.
- Determine NOW to keep the stress out of school mornings.
- Lay clothes out the night before. If you allow your child to choose her outfits, have approved outfits for the week in a section of the closet so she doesn’t have to get permission for what she is wearing that morning.
- If you have an infant, pack the diaper bag the night before with everything except what needs to remain refrigerated.
- Pack backpacks the night before with all assignments and signed papers and put the backpacks in the same place each night.
- Decide what you are serving for breakfast by posting a menu or allowing your children to choose breakfast the night before.
- Avoid addressing behavior issues in the morning that CAN wait until a more convenient time to discuss.
- If everyone seems rushed, determine early in the school year to get up 15 minutes earlier. Do not allow 15 minutes of sleep to rob you and your family of peace and an unhurried morning. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. It will be worth it.
I wish everyone a very happy back-to-school transition.
Writen By: Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers