As many of you approach the first day of school for kids, you’re probably starting to think about how your daily schedule will change once the school bell rings and your kids are back in class. Some of you are probably looking forward to getting back on regular, more predictable schedule, while others of you are dreading the idea of getting everybody out of bed, fed, and out the door on time. And then, there’s after-school activities, sports practice, music lessons, and, of course, homework.
No matter what your outlook is on the impending first day to school, here’s an important adage to remember: back-to-school success is based on routines. Mornings will be smoother and bedtime will be calmer if you can design a daily schedule that works for you AND your kids.
Developing a routine will help you stay on time and on task. Your plan should be simple and easy to implement so everyone in your household has a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Your plan should also be flexible, taking into account each child’s personality and style. Trying to get everyone to adhere to one strict way of doing things won’t be productive and can create more chaos.
For example, if your son has a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, don’t expect him to pack a lunch, fill his backpack and find his lunch money in the morning. Make sure all of that is ready to go the night before. If your daughter would rather sit in bed to read or study for a test, allow her to be comfortable as long as she’s getting her work done. Bottom line: find a system that works and stick to it.
One of the easiest ways to implement school routines is to develop a checklist. Below is an example of some of the activities that you might include in yours. Slide them around to suit your style. For example, it may suit your family better to make lunches before going to bed.
Before School Checklist
Brush teeth and hair
Remember back pack on the way out
After School Checklist
Talk about the day at school
Sign any forms
Practice (sport, instrument, etc)
Set table for dinner
Help with making dinner
Take out trash
Before Bed Checklist
Plan breakfast and set the table for it
Pack backpack – what ‘day’ is tomorrow for special requirements such as gym…
Library books to return
Signed permission slips
Notes to teachers
Pick out clothes for tomorrow
With routines and lists in place, back to school will be simpler, more organized and most importantly, LESS STRESSFUL!