Being a first and second grade teacher for many years, a parent, and now a pre-school teacher, owner and Director of Education, I have seen firsthand how important it is to provide a consistent, organized and healthy routine for our children. Switching from summer to school schedule can be stressful for families. Although it isn’t easy to start setting the alarm and waking your children earlier than the relaxing hours of summer, we know that all children thrive on consistency.
Having a regular routine, consistent bedtimes and preparing for the next school day helps your child get ready and have less anxiety, stress and worry. It helps set your child up for success in school by setting their morning mood. It also helps everyone feel comfortable, organized and establishes a solid morning routine.
Here are some helpful hints:
1. Check the weather for the next day. Discuss with your child what kinds of clothing would fit the expected weather. Then, choose several outfits together that would be appropriate for your child to wear the next day narrowing down the child’s choices. Letting your child have a choice is important. It helps teach decision making and problem solving. Lay the outfit out for easy access for the next morning.
2. Discuss the school lunch and if the child is buying or taking their own. If your child is taking their lunch, help them pack it the night before.
3. Bookbags should be set by the door ready to go, along with appropriate shoes.
4. Set up a bedtime routine which is best for you and your child. Make certain that your child gets plenty of sleep.
5. Don’t forget that all kids need down time just like adults do. So, free play in the evening or after school is essential.
6. Bed time should be set and not open for discussion. Start your child getting ready for bed in plenty of time so that they have time to take a relaxing bath or shower, brush teeth, cuddle and read aloud stories in bed.
7. Reading aloud to your children is one of the best gifts that you can provide. It helps enrich their vocabulary, build imagination, builds interest in the written word, helps open discussion and builds bonds with your child. Reading aloud lets your child know that you feel it is important. Books provide kids with opportunities to learn about so many things.
I strongly suggest 20 minutes of reading aloud to your child nightly. You will be providing an irreplaceable gift of storytelling — a gift that brings culture, fantasy, adventure, mystery, love and life. You are providing quality time by spending time with your child and sharing the enjoyment of good books.
8. The last suggestion is to provide your child with a good, healthy breakfast before sending them off to school. This is the most important meal of the day. It is difficult to think and work if your child is hungry.
Keep up the hard work, parents. You can do this! You are your child’s first and most important teacher. Lead by example and, as we say at Rainbow Station, “Learn Early, Live Well, and Lead”.