Discovery Point Blog
Creating Back-to-School Routines
Getting into the back to school groove can be a bumpy ride, and this year more than ever it may be difficult to know what to expect from the season ahead. For both you and your children, the key is this: routine, routine, routine.
Setting a routine to stick to will not only give your children a sense of normalcy as they begin the new school year but will also help you cope with any additional stress you feel at this time of year.
Our Tips for a Smoother Back-to-School Season
As the back-to-school season approaches, it’s normal to feel a twinge of anxiety even if you’re not the one going back to school. Parents have a ton of tasks to juggle to get their children into the swing of things, from paperwork and shopping to scheduling and logistics. Planning ahead can help, especially if you’re able to get your children involved in the process.
Below, we’ve listed some of our most effective techniques for creating a back-to-school routine that works for your family.
Ease into the new routine and do a few dry runs.
Nothing is worse than having to wake up early for the first time in months, especially if it’s on a day as important as the first day of school. Easing into an earlier wake-up time and morning routine can reduce stress for both you and your children. We recommend starting at least a week ahead of time, having your children wake up 15-20 minutes earlier each day, and getting breakfast ready promptly after.
With each successive day of this transition period, encourage your children to complete additional parts of the morning routine, such as brushing teeth and getting dressed, before breakfast. In addition, be sure to back up bedtime to correlate with the earlier wake up time.
While it may not be possible for your children to fall asleep earlier right away, you can set a no-electronics rule after a certain evening hour and dim bedroom lights to help get their biological clock in sync with the new routine.
Don’t forget to take after-school routines into account.
After the final school bell of the day rings, your child will likely be in need of some downtime. However, this doesn’t mean all bets are off after school. Ensuring there is a structure in place for this time of the day is also important. Doing so minimizes chaos and also makes mornings easier thanks to a little advance preparation.
Be sure to designate a well-earned break for your child when they come home from school, schedule a regular dinnertime, and time to complete homework and chores. As part of their afternoon, evening, or bedtime routine, have your child set aside the next day’s school materials, chosen outfit, and anything that often goes missing during the early-morning rush, such as shoes.
Prepare a chart or checklist.
Preparing a chart or checklist with the day’s routine and placing it in a prominent area of the house will help your children know what is expected of them each day. This chart may include tasks related to morning routines, after-school routines, and bedtime routines, as well as responsibilities like doing homework and chores.
If your children are competitive, you may want to think about “gamifying” this checklist. Laminate it and keep a dry erase marker nearby so they can check off completed items throughout the day. Not only will this get them to be more proactive with their responsibilities, but it could also reduce the need for any nagging on your part because all you have to do is ask them to make sure their list is complete.
Make a “home” for school stuff.
School stuff hasn’t been a part of your children’s lives for several months. As a result, it may not feel like backpacks and school supplies currently have a “home” in your house. Finding a place for these items can help your family feel more organized as you transition through the different stages of your new daily routine.
Try creating a dedicated zone near the door for shoes, backpacks, and jackets, and remind your children that from now on, this is where these items belong. In addition, make sure your children have a specific space to complete their homework so important papers and school materials don’t go “missing.”
Back to School in the Era of COVID-19
While planning and preparing for the back to school season is important, the truth is no one knows exactly what to expect for the rest of the year. More likely than not, your family will have to be flexible in the face of new regulations and schedule changes.
With so many school districts opting for fully remote instruction or a hybrid schedule of both in school and at home learning, it’s important for parents to take a few minutes to ensure their homes are ready for at home learning. One of the first is deciding where your child will learn. A desk or table in a distraction free area is essential. Be sure to double check your WiFI strength to ensure it can support an additional online device(s), especially if other family members are learning or working from home. Also, be sure any devices are charged nightly and that charging cords are close by during the day in case they need to be plugged in.
During this time of uncertainty having a routine can be a source of stability in your children’s lives. Having set bedtimes, mealtimes, and family bonding times is incredibly important as other circumstances fluctuate. If you’re looking for more information about helping your child cope with these new developments, check out our recent blog post on the subject.
The back to school season is almost always an exciting time for children as it represents new beginnings, unlimited possibilities, and the potential for growth and achievement. With the above tips, you can help ensure your child enjoys all the positives this time of year has to offer while giving them the tools they need to manage the transition into a new routine.