A change in routine can throw anyone off, but it’s particularly challenging getting back to a school-routine after months of summer break.
While it’s good for kids to be able to go with the flow and demonstrate flexibility, having a familiar routine allows them to take some ownership over their day and keeps everyone on time for the start of school.
Are you ready to get your family back on a schedule? Here are a few tips to help!
Go To Sleep — It all starts with bedtime. Sleep affects every aspect of everyone’s life, including the ability to concentrate, moods, immune systems and even weight gain. Getting the right amount of sleep is especially important for kids. Most experts agree that children need at least nine to ten hours of sleep each night. Determine the time your children need to wake up in the morning and count back from there to select an appropriate bedtime. If your kids were night owls during the summer, getting them back on an early bedtime schedule might be difficult. Start by putting them to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you arrive at the right time. Once you find that sweet-spot, stick to this bedtime schedule.
Make Time for Family Meals — Although weekly activities can make it difficult to eat at the same time each night, try to keep your family on a set dinner schedule as much as possible. Staying to regular meal times can be easier if you plan your menu at the beginning of the week. Even if your dinner schedule needs to change from night to night due to extracurricular activities, set a schedule and post it somewhere the entire family can see it so they’ll know exactly what to expect.
Make Exercise a Priority — Show your kids that being active is an important part of everyday life, whether that means participating in sports or going for a walk, bike ride or jogging together as a family after dinner. Schedule time when your whole family can get some exercise and have a little fun, too. If the weather isn’t cooperating, turn up the music and hold an indoor dance party. Any activity that gets heart rates up for 30 minutes a day can go a long way in maintaining health and can even improve sleep.
Plan Ahead — At the beginning of each week, sit down and write out your schedule so you’ll know what’s coming in the days to come. Be sure to note any appointments and obligations, and block out free time for your kids. Make a to-do list for each day that includes everything from the time to get the kids out of bed to getting them dressed, fed and off to school. Plan time for errands, exercise and meal preparation. While your lists can be extremely helpful for getting things done in any given day, it’s also important to be flexible. Be willing to change up your daily routine when things don’t go as planned.
Simplify — The more activities you have planned in any given week, the more challenging it can be for your child. While adjusting to a new routine, keep things as simple as possible. Avoid saying “yes” to too many activities and events in the first several weeks of school to allow your kids plenty of time to adjust.
Relax — Expect some days to not go as planned. Every parent knows the unexpected can happen at any time. Don’t take your daily routine too seriously. If you begin your day stressed because the morning rush didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped, it can throw your whole day off. Relax, stay flexible, go with the flow and get back to your routine later in the day.
Establishing a routine that works well for you and your family can take time, practice and patience. Stay committed to the routine, and remember as a parent, some days simply showing up and getting through the day is good enough.