With September comes the excitement and trepidation of a new school year. New school supplies, finding uniforms that fit and discussions of new teachers and classmates replace the lazy days of summer, where routines went out the window and everyone relaxed just enough by the end of July to enjoy August.
It's back to school routine time again!
Now that you're a few weeks in, how did it go? Did you make it to school and work on time the first week back?
How many kit bags were forgotten on the bottom step and how many nights have you already thrown in the towel on bed times or homework? In case things aren't going as smoothly as you'd hope, we've rounded up some of our favourite ways to adjust to a new routine without losing sight of what's important.
Get the kids involved and decide on the routine before the questions start. What time does everyone need to get up? What do they need to help with? When do you need to leave the house? When is homework time? When is bed time? Do you allow play dates during the week? Who is picking the kids up and dropping them off? Also think about your child’s needs. Are they too hungry to jump right in to homework after school? Or too tired to do homework after a certain time?
Talking about it in advance gives the children a chance to talk about anything they are concerned about. The more involved everyone is in this process, the more likely they are to want it to succeed. Plus if they helped to decide their bed time, it's a lot harder to argue about it later! You can take this a step further and put a schedule up on the fridge, making it even easier for you to point out what should be happening!
It also helps to have a recap time after school or before bed. This gives everyone a chance to highlight any problems that have come up and to celebrate successes, and remind all of the adults involved what they are responsible for the next day. This is a good time to remind the children of any changes such as a change of who is picking them up from school or a cancelled club.
Putting plans in place can be time consuming, but, once you put in the initial effort, the end result will be worth it!
Practice makes perfect
Don't wait till the day you need the routine to start to get into the swing of things. Start getting the kids up earlier the week before. Do a few test runs to see how long it will take you to get there. Get the children into the habit of laying out their clothes the night before. If there is no homework, have a story writing session during your designated homework time, and start on school term bedtimes in advance! Everyone will take a different amount of time to fall into a routine, but getting a head start won't hurt!
It might be a little late for this now, but don't forget all of the holidays you have coming up in the next few months. It is easier to fall out of a routine than it is to get into one!
Children are more perceptive than we often realise. If you feel a sense of apprehension about the new routine, your children are more likely to be anxious too. Remember to stay positive in front of them. Don't complain about the new routine, or make them feel like it's a hassle. If cycling to school as a family seems like fun, so does what's on the other end of that ride!
Make time for fun
A routine doesn't mean you can't be spontaneous or have a little fun! Make sure you set aside an evening a week or part of your weekend to have fun as a family, make the plan each week so it’s flexible, as you don't want to cancel when a big assignment comes up.
This is a time everyone can look forward to and help come up with ideas. Whether it's a games night, a slumber party, a movie night or a family bike ride, it's a great time to escape the weekly grind and enjoy!
Get on with it
Once the planning and discussions are out of the way, don't dwell on it, just do it! There is no point in labouring on about the change, it's a done deal - so set the plan in motion.