It doesn’t matter how old your children are, going back to school is always a mixture of excitement and nervousness! Getting accustomed to a new routine, especially during these times, can be daunting. I have to have a school routine, however! If there is no routine, then I design one! It helps me stay focused, on track and goal oriented. This time of year is a perfect time to implement some new (and improved!) routines at home. So, while the crayons are still sharp and the hand sanitizer is still capped, let’s talk about some school routines which can help your child (and your family) be successful.
- Set reasonable limits: creating consistent limits on screen time, on cell phone time, on bedtimes, on meal times…..all of these are hallmarks of a school routine. At first, with all the flexibility of the summer, these limits can seem harsh. Don’t be afraid to set limits and then ‘walk back’ the limits each week. For example, if you set bedtime at 9:00 this week, next week can be 8:45, and so forth. After a couple of weeks, you can see how well this is working for each child and adjust according to age and need.
- Eat well, feel well: prep nutritious and delicious meals and snacks so you aren’t frazzled and feeling guilty about the Doritos you tossed into their lunchbox. There are so many recipes out there that can be prepped ahead of time… from overnight oats to trail mix! Let your kids help with the lunch decisions: set up a menu board in the kitchen, have your kids help pack their lunches or throw in a “mystery” treat every day. For after school, when kids arrive home ready to eat anything and everything in sight, create a snack station with nutritious choices like fresh-cut veggies, yogurt and turkey jerky.
- Look, a Squirrel! : limit distractions! Keep the TV off, the technology put away and toys out of sight. I bought a 3-sided science fair board and used that for a ‘mini office’ for my son. He wrote a schedule for himself along with all his classroom codes and posted it on one side of the board. He took ownership and came to see that it was really helping him establish and stick to a homework routine.
So, what about you? What changes or improvements can you take on now that you will have some time for yourself again? What positive changes are you planning to create a successful and sustainable routine?