While I don’t have kids, I too find the transition from summer into fall to be both challenging and an opportunity. September 1 – or the beginning of the new school year – is a chance to hit the reset button, start fresh, and look forward to new possibilities. In addition to these tips to ease the transition back to a “regular” schedule (for both kids and adults), consider these 6 reasons to set new resolutions in the fall.
Make The Transition Into A Schedule More Pleasant
A change in routine can be difficult for anyone to manage — for children and adults alike. After having the summer off, getting back to a school routine can be particularly challenging.
While it’s good for kids to be able to go with the flow, knowing what to expect by having a set schedule can help them feel more safe and secure. A solid, familiar routine gives kids security and allows them to take some ownership over their day.
Are you ready to get your family back on a schedule? Here are a few tips to help.
Stick to a Bedtime Schedule — It all starts with bedtime. Sleep affects every aspect of everyone’s life, including our ability to concentrate, our moods, our immune systems and even weight gain. Getting the right amount of sleep is especially important for kids. Most experts agree children need at least nine to ten hours of sleep each night. Determine what time your kids need to wake up in the morning and count back from there to select an appropriate bedtime. If your kids were night owls during the summer, getting them back on an early bedtime schedule might be difficult. Start by putting them to bed 10 minutes earlier each night until you arrive at the right time.
Schedule Time for Family Meals — Although weekly activities can make it difficult to eat at the same time each night, try to keep your family on a set dinner schedule as much as possible. Staying to regular meal times can be easier if you plan your menu at the beginning of the week. Even if your dinner schedule needs to change from night to night due to extracurricular activities, set a schedule and post it somewhere your kids (and spouse) can see it so they’ll know exactly what to expect.
Focus on the Example You Set — Children watch everything you do, and take their cues from you. When it’s time to go to bed early, announce that you’ll be going to bed early, too. Eat well, exercise and model habits of a healthy lifestyle – your kids will follow suit.
Make Exercise a Priority — Show your kids that being active is an important part of everyday life, whether that means participating in sports or going for a walk, bike ride or jogging together as a family after dinner. Schedule time when your whole family can get some exercise and have a little fun, too. If the weather isn’t cooperating, turn up the music and hold an indoor dance party. Any activity that gets heart rates up for 30 minutes a day can go a long way in maintaining health and can even improve sleep.
Plan Ahead — At the beginning of each week, sit down and write out your schedule so you’ll know what’s coming in the days to come. Be sure to note any appointments and obligations, and block out free time for your kids. Make a detailed to-do list for each day that includes everything from what time to get the kids out of bed to getting them dressed, fed and off to school. Plan time for errands, exercise and meal preparation. While your lists can be extremely helpful for getting things done in any given day, it’s also important to be flexible. Be willing to change up your daily routine when things don’t go as planned.
Keep It Simple — The more activities you have planned in any given week, the more challenging it can be for your child. While adjusting to a new routine, keep things as simple as possible. Avoid saying “yes” to too many activities and events in the first weeks or even month of school to allow your kids plenty of time to adjust.
Relax — Expect some days to not go as planned. Every parent knows the unexpected can happen at any time. Don’t take your daily routine too seriously. If you begin your day stressed because the morning rush didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hoped, it can throw your whole day off. Relax, stay flexible, go with the flow and get back to your routine later in the day.
Give It a Test Run — Your routine doesn’t have to be set in stone. Give it a try for a week and see what happens. If it’s not working, change it up. Find the routine that works best for you and your children. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.
Establishing a routine that works well for you and your family can take time, practice and perseverance. Stay committed to the routine, and remember as a parent, some days simply surviving is good enough.
From the PrimeLending blog by Mandy Jordan.