Getting the Kids Back Into a Routine With Grainne Ryan
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Primary schools re open this week after the Christmas break. After two weeks of holidays parents will be trying with difficulty to get their kids back into the routine of getting up early for school, so Grainne Ryan is here with tips on how to make the transition easier.
Grainne Ryan - Parenting Coach
Presenter of Baby on Board Series 2. Grainne is a public health nurse and midwife and mother of three children. Areas of interest child development, parenting issues, adolescent development and post natal depression and works as a public health nurse in Ennis Co. Clare.
WHY IS ROUTINE SO IMPORTANT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR?
At Christmas time many routines are out the window, as kids enjoy late nights, early mornings, irregular meal times, and the neverending stream of sweets and presents. After two weeks of this it can be difficult to get them back to normality, which is why a routine is so important.
However, it shouldn't be as difficult as after the summer holidays, when children have to adjust to a new class, new teacher and completely new routine. By Christmas, children should be well settled into a routine. If they don't have a routine or timetable, January is the perfect time to start one.
GRAINNE'S 5 STEP PLAN TO GETTING A ROUTINE IN PLACE
1: CONTINUE WITH YOUR REGULAR TIMETABLE. IF YOU DON'T HAVE ONE, NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO START!
Sit down with your kids and make a chart, turn it into a fun art project and agree on specific times they have to be ready. Lay out the day on a chart or a timetable and stick it on the fridge or a blackboard in the kitchen!
Get up 7:30am
Breakfast at 8am
Leave at 8:30
Wind down 3-4pm
Family dinner 6pm
Free time until 8pm ( depending on the child's age)
2: ORGANISE TELEVISION & FREE TIME
Agree with your kids how many hours of TV they are allowed to watch during the school week, let them pick there favorite shows and mark on a calendar.
Similarly if it's the play station or other games agree with them a certain amount of time allowed to spend during the school week.
3. MAKE THE MORNINGS AS EASY AS POSSIBLE
Mornings are a hectic time, kids and parents alike are all vying for the bathroom and trying to get out of the house on time. With your timetable already laid out you are already one step there!
. Have clothes, extra items for school ready the night before
. Make sure bags are packed and lunches ordered the night before.
. Try and get everyone to the breakfast table at the same time, talk about the day ahead, there is no point in screaming and shouting at kids in the morning, the more stressed you are the more stressed your child will be.
4. TALK ABOUT BEDTIME
All kids will push boundaries when it comes to bedtime, to ensure they get the proper rest for the next day follow these three points.
. Ease them into the process, agree one bed time for Sunday to Thursday and a slightly later time for the weekend, making weekend time a treat.
. Talk about it in advance, let them know that 8pm is pyjamas time 9pm is bed time
. Stick with it - Don't let them stay up longer than the agreed time. Maintain consistency / unity with arrangements.
5. MAKE IT FUN
After Christmas it's easy for kids to feel down, as the hype of Santa, their nativity play, presents, and all the other exciting Christmas events are over. Be sure to make time for them to have fun after Christmas as well. If they got a board game or other game/toy for Christmas, set aside time to play it with them. Ask them about how their friends spent Christmas, and talk to them about fun things they enjoyed over Christmas.
Other ways to make routine fun:
. When you plan your routine, use arts and crafts
. Be aware of their emotions and encourage them to express themselves, make it easy to talk about anything that is bothering them.
. Tell them about funny things that may have happened to you in work or at home, encourage them to share their day.
. Have small prizes or a star chart. E.g. If homework is completed before the allotted time and reward them with a small treat.
. Have races to put on pajamas etc.
Free time - Be mindful too much extracurricular activities - all parents and kids need time to relax during the week, remember kids don't have to be in every sport club, dance class etc. Have one day during the week where you all do something together rather than rush them to and from school & extra curricular activities.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS BEING RESISTANT
. Stick with it! Consistency is Important -once the routine has been talked about and house rules are in place stick with the weekday routine!
. Children need boundaries; they will always try to test you! - This incorporates much of point one, make sure house rules are clear.
. Explore possible reasons for behaviour. Be careful not to exaggerate their anxieties - if your child is upset e.g. doesn't want to go to bed or won't get up in the morning for school - talk to them about their fears / anxieties.
Take into account individuality/personality of each child e.g. some kids like to get their homework out of the way as soon as they come home, always respect what your child wants.
Children should have the time to wind down after school, this will also help them express themselves, this is good for your relationship as they know they can talk to you about their day even if they got into trouble with the teacher.