“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” Thanks to a certain office supply store, this song repeats in my head every year at back to school time. I love the song but I am not so sure it is true. If you talk to my 13-year-old stepson he will tell you that school is okay but he enjoys his unscheduled summer.
This time of year is filled with back to school shopping, going back to school, early morning wake ups, lunch prep, homework, and the never ending extra-curricular activities. Insert a big sigh…
That was my glass is half empty approach! People that know me well know that I am a glass is half full kinda girl.
The things I like about this time of year are as follows: I know when I need to do school pick up; when I get to cheer on my boys at basketball; when we do toddler friendly dance and gymnastics; when I have time to spare; and when I need to get ready to pull out my hair.
Children crave and require predictability and routine. Visual schedules and calendars with lists of activities are helpful. Do not forget to schedule some down time and time to explore with their imaginations. I have observed that children that know what is going to happen next are less anxious. A very good example of routine and schedules would be bedtime!
A bedtime routine should be no more than 45 minutes in duration. A typical bedtime is as follows:
- Brush teeth
- Read Books (no more than 3)
- In bed
- Lights out
I believe that predictable routines and schedules make life as a parent so much easier!! Visual schedules (lists of words and pictures) are great for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children. When you include your child in making the schedules they seem to follow them with more zest. Children love pictures! Schedules with pictures and words serve a double purpose (just do not tell your kids!). These schedules can help keep children on task and they teach word recognition! Have fun making your visuals!
Schedules and routines rock!
Take care and happy sleeping,