Before you know it the school bells will be ringing and it will be time for children to head back to school. If you’re wondering about how to get a good routine going, consider the following ideas to help you create your own. Once you have a routine in place, the chance your family will be able to start the new school year on a bright and less harried note will be increased. Don’t wait too long to set up your back to school routine. The longer you wait to get the children into the habit of going to bed at a set bedtime, the harder time your children will have getting up for school in the morning. Of course, if you can help your children get into the routine of going to bed earlier, choosing their clothes for the next day and being sure everything is in their book bag the day will start much better.
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Attending a new school Think about how you felt when you started at a new school. You were probably a little bit scared or nervous. Chances are your child will be, too. What can you do to help them feel less scared? One thing you can do before school starts is to visit their new school. Stop by the front office and explain that your child is going to be attending the school and ask if they can get a tour. If they can’t take the time to go with you around the school, they will probably allow you to walk through on your own. See if you can meet with your child’s teacher while you’re there. If they’re not available, you can at least find out where your child’s homeroom class will be. You may already have their schedule for the year; if this is true try to find all the other classrooms. In fact, you may want to walk with them through their schedule by going with them to each classroom as they would during school. Don’t forget to find the other important rooms of a school building. Locate the bathrooms, especially the ones along their daily path, so they’ll know where they can go when they have a minute between classes. You’ll also want to find the lunchroom and the library. If they’re involved in sports find the locker rooms or the band room if they play an instrument. Will your child ride the bus, walk to school or will you take them every day? Find the quickest way for them to get to school if they’ll be walking to school. Take the time to drive them along that route so they know where they’re going. If you’re going to be driving your child to school, take them with you as you drive by the school. Help them get familiar with the route you’ll take each day. By taking the time to go with your child to their new school you are helping them be prepared. They won’t get lost as quickly because they’ll already have a general idea of the layout of the school. They’ll also know where their classes are, what the best way to get to school is, and will feel more comfortable going through their first day of school.
Decide when you have to get up It will be much easier to decide what time your children need to go to bed if you know what time they have to get up in the morning. Most experts agree children need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep each night to be at their best, 8 hours would be an absolute minimum. If you know your child must be up at 6 a.m. in order to be ready for school by 7:30 a.m., you would want your children to begin getting ready for bed around 7:30 p.m. This would mean dinner would have to be earlier as well, but if you want your children to get the correct amount of sleep to be ready for school, you may want to make some adjustments to your entire day. When you know what time your children need to be up in the morning, and when they need to get to sleep, determining a schedule for the remainder of their day should be easier. Here are some things you’ll want to consider when planning the day.
A good day starts with a good night’s sleep It’s not unusual for parents to allow their children to stay up later during the summer than during the school year. If you’ve been lax at making your children go to bed at a regular time you may want to make some changes. Of course, you can expect your children to complain and try to stay up later, but you know the earlier they get to bed the better prepared they’ll be for school. You may want to explain to your children the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Tell them that it is during sleep the body heals itself. Getting enough sleep will help them have the energy they need to stay awake during school. It will also help them focus on the tasks before them. Besides these benefits of a good night’s sleep, they will be less cranky which will enable them to be better company. To ensure your children are ready to go back to school, you’ll want them to get readjusted to going to bed early enough to be able to get up on time. How do you accomplish this? A couple of weeks before the first day of school, have your children begin going to bed earlier each night until they are used to their earlier bed time. For instance, if your children have been used to staying up two hours later than they would during school, you’d want to have the children go to bed half an hour earlier every night for a few days. Then you’d have them go to bed another half hour earlier for a few days until they’re finally going to bed at the best time for them to get the rest they need. The earlier you start this process, the simpler it will be for them to get used to going to bed earlier again. Decide what time your children need to get to sleep.
Depending on their ages and how many children you have they may have different bed times. If this is the case, have the younger children choose their clothes for the next day before they take a bath, brush their teeth and put on their pajamas. Get them in the habit, or routine, of following a specific pattern each night. If you have them choose their clothing for the next day, take a bath, brush their teeth, get into their pajamas every night before they go to bed, you’re transitioning them into settling down. Having a set routine such as this, or any schedule you use as a family, will give them a strong sense of continuity and help them wind down. It may even reduce the number of complaints your children have about bedtime. Older children may be allowed to stay up later than very young children. However, you probably won’t want them to stay up too late. Have them follow the same type of pattern – choosing their clothes, taking care of their personal needs and going to bed – so they’ll be ready to get a good night’s sleep. Another benefit of getting the children to bed earlier in the evening rather than waiting until they get tired is everyone will be more rested to face the day ahead of them. Since they’ve taken the time to choose their clothing the night before you won’t be faced with questions like “Mom, have you seen my blue shirt?” or “Hey, Mom, where are my tennis shoes?” You may not believe how this one activity taken the night before can make your morning seem to flow smoother. Once the children are in bed you may not want to turn the lights out right away. Take some time to enjoy one-on-one time with your children. Depending on their ages, you can read them a bedtime story before they settle down for the night or simply take that time to connect on a personal level. Help them know what to expect by talking about the next day. What activities are planned? Do they have a doctor’s appointment? Will you pick them up from school at an unusual time? What activities do you have to do after they get home from school? Do you have to run to the store or take care of other errands? Anything you can do to prepare them for the next day will make things easier on the whole family.
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