The Summer days are counting down. At home we are well on our way to settling back into our school routines. As we spoke about earlier here, clear, consistent gentle rhythms will easy your child into the morning and nightly school routines.
More importantly though, it will help prepare your child for the routines of their classroom.
One of the easiest things to do is use routine cards. We love these free printable ones. They are not too childish, easily understood and large enough to be gripped by small hands. Laminated with a small dot magnet on the back and stuck on Quentin’s fridge, they have held up for years of daily use. He can easily see the order of his tasks and he has the ability to change the order should he choose.
Books can help prepare kids for what to expect in the classroom as well. These are some of our absolute favourites and you can find out more about them here.
The more routine you implement before your child goes off to school the better they will be prepared for their days.
Don’t wait to until the first day of school to start getting up early. Start today.
Here’s our tips:
- Figure out what time you need to get up to get everyone fed, clothed and out the door. Then set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than that!
- Get up even on the days you don’t need to. Even if it’s just a little bit earlier. It will help your young child keep that routine going.
- Get dressed every morning, even on holidays or weekends. Don’t wait till noon. This is a common mistake.
- Practice, practice practice your child’s self care tasks. Your child will need to know how to change their outdoor footwear, recognize their name, open their lunch containers, put on their jacket and use the bathroom completely independently. As a 3-6 Montessori teacher, I implore you to give them the confidence they need to get through their day without you by making sure they can do these task independently.
- Set a bedtime routine that is gentle, allows for lots of family closeness and above all calm. We like to make sure that Quentin has a bath with some lavender essential oils and a warm towel to dry off with Then afterwards we sit with a candle and an essential oils diffuser going before getting him into his bed and reading together. This entire process can sometimes take two hours. It means that we need to make the conscious decision that his needs must come before our own. It ensures that he is truly calm and feeling reconnected after his busy day away from us.
Lastly here’s some gentle words of caution:
- Swimming lessons, sports and outings are very important but in the first weeks of school can create extra stress. Consider putting them on hold for the first month at least.
- Your excitement may not be shared by your child. Be prepared for anxiousness and crying. Keeping the same routine every day and reassuring your child you will come back and get them will help.
Back to school is a big transformation for any family regardless of if it’s your first time or not. Instilling routines that help prepare your child for separation, independence and the rhythm of your day will go along way to decreasing anxiety for all those involved.