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Back to School – The Importance of Routine with Children
Lessons from a Former Teacher and Current Mother
If you have kids, chances are you already know what happens when they don’t get enough rest, then there is a shift in schedule or when something doesn’t go just as planned. Kids can get cranky, irritable, inattentive and loud at the flip of a switch. If we have a child that wakes up with those symptoms, while we can be excited to drop them off and get a break in behavior for ourselves, it doesn’t present a very fair day to our child’s teachers or classmates. Routines are vital for young kids in many ways beyond the sleep factor. In fact, routines can be the backbone of a kid’s future habits.
Sleep is the most obvious example but it is not the only one by a long shot. Another important routine for kids is to have homework time. When a kid first starts school, he develops (or doesn’t) the habits that will follow him through his entire school career.While the fight of making your child complete their homework, is never fun, some children need this guidance. Setting aside a time each afternoon for homework to be accomplished allows your child to learn respect of structure, as well as develop proper study habits.
Routine is also important as far as nutrition. Kids that sit at school hyped up on sugar and caffeine all day are not learning at the optimum levels and the chances are pretty good that they are also hindering other kids from learning their best. Giving your child a food routine that consists of healthy proteins, veggies and fruits will boost their learning power and keep their attention more focused. Keeping them off the soft drinks and other caffeine laden items will help them as well. Nobody needs a sugar rush during the school day except perhaps the teachers and staff.
Routines show up in your child’s social skill set as well. Finding ways to ensure your child is social is often overlooked, but necessary. Scheduling “social hour” gives it power and makes it a priority for both you and the child. For example, in my home we schedule time to go do something as a family every single Saturday, and the kids know they are welcome to invite a friend. This gives them a social pattern that they can count on and it keeps them seeking friends. This is very important to a young child who is learning about the importance of family, life and relationships.
Consistency is key. Healthy consistency will produce good habits. Good habits will produce great character! Structure allows your child to not be caught off guard or surprised about a “rule” or “expectation” in the home or the classroom.
What other ways do you create routines for your children? Share successful stories in the comments down below!
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