As kids start going back to school, it is a great time to get routines in place to help minimize stress and anxiety and increase efficiency and independence.
Have a Morning Routine
One of the easiest ways for kids of all ages to get a good start in the morning is to have a routine. Knowing exactly what needs to be done before heading out the door can help keep stress and anxiety levels down, and starts the day on a positive note for everyone. Routines can also help kids gain independence, adjust the routine as kids get older, and can do more on their own; a teenager and a kindergartener would have very different morning routines.
Set up a checklist so everyone can track what needs to be done, for younger kids use a picture checklist. Limit distractions by saving screen time for the ride to school/daycare or after school. You don’t want to get distracted in the middle of the morning routine because of TV.
Of course, make sure everyone is having a healthy breakfast each morning. A good breakfast can help everyone, especially young children, concentrate throughout the day. For ideas on quick and healthy breakfast ideas check out this link.
Have an Evening Routine
Just like in the morning, having an evening routine can help everyone wind down from the day and get a good night’s rest. A nighttime routine should be started before kids get sleepy. You can apply a lot of the same practices you use in the morning, like having a checklist to make sure everything gets done. An evening routine is also a great time to prep for the next morning! Make sure showers are done, outfits are picked out, homework is finished to make the morning a breeze.
While giving your kiddo their tablet before bed may sound like an easy way to keep the kids in their beds, blue light before bed has been shown to disrupt sleep habits in people of all ages, not just kids. Instead, encourage your family to read a book before bed. Stop screen time at least 1 hour before bed to make sure your child is ready to hit the hay when it’s time for bed. Minimizing screen exposure during this time also allows you to talk to your kiddo about their day, what they’re excited about, or what they’re worried about, opening up a positive line of communication between you and your child.