During the summer months, when school isn’t in session, it’s easy to relax your child’s daily schedule. Bedtimes may get a little later and sleeping in just happens naturally.
But when the school year rolls around, it’s time to make some adjustments to your child’s routine. And making these changes far enough ahead of time will help them feel normal by the time school starts.
Why are routines in general important for children?
Kids are no different from adults in that they find comfort in routines.
A set daily routine helps children know what they have to do when, so they’re more likely to be productive. Children are also better able to adapt to changes when they have a set routine that they know.
When kids have a set daily routine, they feel:
- Safe and secure
- In control of their environment
- Ready to take on the next activity
- Comfortable because they always know what’s happening next
Instituting your child’s back-to-school routine
Kids often feel nervous about going back to school. By reinstating their typical routine used during the school year ahead of time, you can help your child feel more prepared to be back in the classroom.
The morning routine might be the hardest thing about going back to school. Getting up early and getting ready for school each day can feel stressful. But again, re-establishing these habits early can help alleviate this stress significantly.
Try these tips:
- Praise your child’s successes to build self-esteem.
- Make a chart with pictures and simple words as a visual guide for your child to follow.
- Talk about what the morning routine will include so your child understands your expectations.
- Give your child easy-to-follow steps that have to be completed every morning before it’s time to leave for school.
A successful school routine doesn’t just include the mornings though. It’s likely that your child will bring home homework. So, devise a plan ahead of time for completing these assignments every afternoon or evening.
- Allow enough time after homework time for relaxing before it’s time for bed.
- Create a place for your child to work on homework that’s well lit and quiet.
- Designate a specific time for homework when a parent or other adult is available to help, if needed.
- Make sure your child isn’t hungry or thirsty before homework time. Schedule the time after a snack or a meal.
- Don’t forget to add time for active activity every day, because daily physical activity will make it easier for a child to sleep at night.
An evening routine might also involve packing the school backpack and choosing tomorrow’s outfit.
And above all else, make sure your child is getting enough sleep each night. School-aged kids need between nine and 11 hours of sleep each night. As for teenagers, they need between eight and 10 hours of sleep.