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  • Writer's pictureSt. Matthews

Getting kids back into a routine

Going back to school is a big deal for parents and their children. It's not just a start to the year, but also an opportunity to get back into the routine of things and shake off the last few weeks of summer break.

If you have kids in school, you know how important it is to get yourself and your children back into that school-life routine. Having those back-to-school routines will make your life easier and set your students up for a successful start to the new school year.

Let’s talk about some tips and tricks you should keep in mind for getting back into the swing of life of going back to school.

Create a schedule.

A schedule is a plan that you create daily and weekly. A routine is what you do regularly, like getting ready or going to bed. A to-do list is just what it sounds like: a list of everything that needs to be done.

Creating a schedule can help both your child and yourself stay organized during the school year. It will give them an idea of what they need to do at specific times throughout the day, which can help them stay on top of their responsibilities without having an overwhelming number of tasks in front of them at once.

It also helps parents know when their children need help with homework or need to be taken to any after-school extra-curricular activities.

Schedules are useful because they let everyone involved—children, parents, teachers—know when certain activities should occur and how much time should be allotted for each one (flexibility is key). Also, if there are specific items that may not be routine but still important (like piano practice), these items should have their own designated place within the schedule!

It can sound overwhelming for sure, but the sooner you create schedules, the more reliable your routine becomes.

Get them excited.

Try giving them a tour of the school before they're due to start, and discuss with them what they will learn and do each day. Talk about all their new friends, teachers, subjects, and activities in which they will participate. This will help them feel more comfortable on the first day of school, and there's a natural incentive for getting ready on time when they're excited about something!

Keep a regular bedtime.

A regular bedtime is important. It helps your child get enough sleep, as well as start the day on a positive note.

  • You can help your child get to bed on time by setting a schedule for each night of the week and keeping it consistent.

  • Nightly countdowns can help to ready your child for bedtime, i.e. if their bedtime is 8:00 pm then give them a two-hour warning/heads up at 6:00 pm then at 7:00 pm then 7:30 pm. This can help them to wind down easier and help them through the motions of bedtime.

  • Your child may need some help getting up in the morning as well—if so, set another alarm for 5:30 a.m., but keep it off until 6:00 a.m., then gradually increase this time until they're awake enough to wake themselves up without prompting from an alarm clock or other source of light or sound (like their parents).

Make mornings less hectic.

Mornings can be the hardest part of the back-to-school routines. It’s tempting to hit snooze and sleep in and hope your child will get themselves ready... Always expect something to go wrong in the morning so that you can plan for it and hopefully make the morning less hectic.

  • Set a regular time to eat breakfast. Try to stick with something easy like cereal or toast so it doesn’t take too much time out of their day—and yours!

  • Set a regular time to leave the house by 8:45 am (or whatever the school-bus pick-up is). That way you’ll have plenty of time left over in your morning routine if they need help getting ready or packing their lunchbox and backpack. And don't forget: even if they walk somewhere else besides home after school, make sure that everyone knows what time they're expected at each other's houses!

  • Set a regular time to get home from school by 3 pm (or whatever the bus comes). This means putting together some sort of schedule around homework assignments, after-school activities, and snack times—and making sure that everyone sticks with it as much as possible!

  • Get supplies ready the night before.

  • By putting things away the night before, you can make sure all your child's school supplies are organized and in place. This will help them start the day off on a positive note, and it'll also make it easier for you to navigate getting out of bed in the morning.

  • Create a system for getting ready: If you have more than one child going back to school, it's helpful to have some kind of master list that includes everything each kid needs to take with them on their first day at school. (For example, if one child needs pencils while another needs pens, be sure they're separated into different piles. Having everything ready and organized will help prevent any unnecessary stress on either parent or student before they even leave home).

  • Get your children to help you each night to plan out the next morning. The earlier you start building this habit with them the easier it’ll become for them to take this responsibility for themselves as they get older and closer to adulthood.

This season of back-to-school for your children is always a hectic process at first after having a summer break of probably no routines and schedules. The earlier you start to get a routine going by creating schedules and plans for each day and each week and getting your children actively involved in the process the better it will be when the first day and weeks of school come rolling around.

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