Classes are back in session…. Families are trying to establish and get used to a more scheduled routine. As the year starts, it might be a good time to evaluate what worked for your family last year that helped things run smoothly and what did not. Often we just revert back to old habits and familiar routines without considering if it is truly working. For instance,
- Are mornings too chaotic? Although it is not uncommon for parents to say that school mornings are often frantic and hectic, it might be useful to assess what would make them less so. Identify what might be the source of the primary stress and seek alternatives solutions. For example, if the kids take too long to get ready, you can get them up earlier, have them pick out their clothes the night before, or get them to bed earlier so that they are ready to get going in the morning.
- Are you over-scheduled? It is okay to limit the number of extracurricular activities your kids are involved in, especially if you have more than one child. You can have them choose one after school activity (sport, class) that they can do and enjoy. They might get more out of being involved in one after school activity they enjoy rather than several activities that they may dread doing. And, as a parent, you might be more present and less overwhelmed if you do not have to run around along with them.
- Are electronics turned off long before bedtime? Studies have shown that kids’ brains need time to turn off before they can fall asleep after playing video games or watching TV. To make sure they are getting the rest they need, establish a bedtime routine that includes no video games, online activity, game playing on their phones, or TV viewing for at least one hour before bedtime. Lack of good sleep can lead to less cooperative behaviors the next day and difficulties at school.
Ultimately, our job as parents is to help our children make good choices and develop life skills that will guide them for life. It is never too early to get started on good habits and to learn how to prioritize. We can be their best tutor—by modeling.
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