At the moment a lot of us parents are struggling with getting our children back into their routine.
At the moment a lot of us parents are struggling with getting our children back into their routine. The Easter break made for later wake ups, looser meal times and a later bedtime. And all that chocolate! Not to mention the fact we then had a long weekend soon after, it's easy to let the routine slide.
But, routine brings in the structure your kids are needing right now. Children see life as a series of events. And when those events are predictable and routine, your children develop a healthy sense of structure.
That structure helps them feel safe, which means they're happier, more cooperative, and less inclined to fight.
Here's how to get your little ones back into a routine after the Easter break holidays, if you're still struggling.
Start with bedtime
We all know our kids don't function well if they're not getting enough sleep. With after school activities restarting after the break, your bedtime routines may be getting pushed back a bit. Take control of that now, and enforce a strict bedtime. The routine itself doesn't have to be strict, however. But, the time should.
Figure out the best wake up time
With enough sleep under their belts, your kids will be able to wake up with plenty of time to get everything done in the mornings. Add up all their morning tasks, estimate how much time they each take, and then add an extra five-minute cushion. Now, using that time, count backwards from the time they need to be walking out the door. That's the time they should be waking up each day.
Another transition that can be rough after any break is homework completion. Like the morning routine, providing your child with a structured schedule can help him stay focused and motivated. Completing homework as soon as school is over and with continuous parental support will take advantage of the daylight hours and provide encouragement, motivation, and assistance when needed. Snacks are a great way to keep your child’s energy up while he works through. Of course, some children have active schedules make engaging in homework more difficult. Letting your child know that you understand the hard work he is putting in and being ready with frequent positive feedback for his effort can help motivate him to get homework done.
Be a good role model
Your kids take cues from what YOU do. (Yes, even teens who pretend they don’t.) If your day’s all over the place, you eat your meals in the car, and sometimes don’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning, your child is absorbing that ‘push to the limit’ attitude and the habits that go with it. The more you set healthy limits for yourself, the more likely your child will be to follow suit.
Start a pre-bedtime routine
The best way to encourage sleep for anyone, but especially your little one starts with creating a quiet, dark, technology-free bedtime routine. This might be especially important as kids are shifting back to school. Easter Holidays can mean staying out a little later and bedtimes being a little looser. As you remove these elements and ask kids to shift back to a more “normal” bedtime routine, they may be used to the later bedtimes and won’t feel ready for bed. You might find that an added emphasis on creating a calm post-dinner environment is more important than normal during this transition period.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.