Thoughtful Parenting: Back-to-school routines
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
It’s time for the transition from summer to school routines. Parents often have mixed emotions about this transition. You may have been counting down the days for school to start, while at the same time not looking forward to the stress evenings and mornings getting ready for school can bring.
While this time can be stressful, there are some ways we can embrace the transition and look at it as a new start and a time for growth for ourselves as parents, as well as our children.
Time to reflect
Think back to last school year. Reflect on what part of your routine was successful for your family. Make sure to include those this year. Then, remember the parts of the routine that caused issues. Are there small changes you can make to create a smoother evening or morning?
Every family is unique, and what works for your family may not for another. Choose an idea to try.
- Get ready for the day in the evening: What can you prepare the night before? Lunches, clothes, backpacks? The contents of the backpack can be a huge morning stressor. Make a consistent time every night to help your child empty and repack his bag.
- Homework routine: The trend has been that teachers are assigning less homework, but creating a time for this to occur each day is a good idea. Often kids are expected to read or practice math facts. Figure out with your child the best time to work on this. I strongly encourage that it is not right before bedtime. Our brains are not primed for practice when we are tired. Some children work better in the morning.
- Time to reconnect at the end of the day: Activities like Rose, Thorn, and Bud can help children and adults reflect on their day and express gratitude. In this activity, you share something positive about your day (rose), something that was challenging (thorn), and something you are looking forward to (bud). This can be done at any time in the evening routine.
- Time to calm down and physically connect: Even children who can read on their own enjoy being read to. Ending the day with a story you enjoy can give you time to cuddle and share the magic of a book. If you do not like reading aloud, audiobooks offer a great alternative.
- Morning schedule: Having a written schedule — words or pictures — can be helpful to keep kids on track. The use of a timer can also help with time management.
Taking time to establish your family’s routine can make mornings and evenings more enjoyable for everyone.
Kim Schulz is the executive director and part of the team of reading experts at Steamboat Reading. Steamboat Reading provides a community of support for struggling readers and their families. Visit steamboatreading.org for more information.
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