Kindergarten teachers know a powerful organizing principle: reliable routines are the secret to a successful school day.
Well-crafted classroom routines give pupils a sense of security--and ensure that the day moves smoothly through each planned activity.
Put that organizing secret to work in your organized home!
Today in the Back-to-School Countdown, it's time to craft morning, after-school and evening routines for the school year.
Try these ideas to create an efficient routine to move the family easily through each school day.
Start with bedtime, and work backward
Every parent knows the importance of sufficient sleep. Cut the shut-eye short, and the result will be cranky children and chaotic mornings.
Now, before school begins, introduce a reasonable school-year bedtime, and transition children onto the new schedule in good time for the first day of school.
Plan ahead for mornings
One minute of preparation at day's end is worth 15 minutes of morning frustration! Thinking ahead to an organized morning, consider adding these items to your children's before-bed routine:
- Five minute pick-up of family room or living room to return children's belongings to their places
- Homework / backpack check for items needed the next day
- Set the table for breakfast
- Make and refrigerate lunches
- Lay out clothing for the next day
Get out the door on time
Getting a late start on a school morning can cast a cloud over the rest of the day for everyone. Time to plan a morning routine that will get everyone out the door on time (and smiling!)
As a parent, try to get up a half-hour earlier than the family. Being showered, dressed, and possessed of a few minutes of quiet time before beginning the morning routine gives a big boost of patience and energy.
For the children, consider these items to set a morning routine:
- Plan a wake-up call with 5 to 15 minutes of leeway. Letting little ones wake up gradually cuts the cranky.
- Set a breakfast time ... and enforce a dress code. Dressing before breakfast gives more time for the meal and cuts dawdling.
- Set up a family launch pad to organize "out the door" items, so the family's not delayed by a lost permission slip or missing sports uniform.
- Account for the unexpected when leaving for school. An extra five minutes can be a sanity saver should traffic or car issues delay the family.
Craft an after-school routine
Finally, consider how the family will return from school. A short routine performed on entering the house can see backpacks returned to the launch pad, snacks and homework review ... before children scatter to their own devices after a long day.