Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

The start of the school year signals a re-charged family routine.

By FamilyTime


By now, your kids are back in school and the family is settling into its normal day-to-day activities. Because a reassuring and predictable routine benefits the entire family, it's a good idea to review your daily schedule early and, if necessary, make adjustments.

Stress-Free Mornings
Mornings tend to be the hardest time for families. Everyone is trying to get out the door and time seems short.

Your children will leave for school more happily if you make mornings as calm as possible. One way to do so is to establish a firm routine.

Small children should be awoken with the same reassuring words and gestures each morning. Even teens like this.

Everyone likes to be greeted with a friendly "good morning!" when they arrive in the kitchen. Breakfast is important for learning and good health and eating even simple meals of cereal and toast together establishes soothing routines.

Don't forget to say goodbye to your kids when they leave for school in similar ways everyday.

Manageable After-School Activities
Keep track of your kids' various after-school activities and if they seem overwhelmed, let them cut back. Establish a quiet place and regular time for homework. Make a point of checking or at least asking about your children's homework assignments.

Limit television viewing. Studies show more than two hours a day interferes with academic achievement.

Talk to your kids about school everyday. Even a simple "how was school today?" asked regularly demonstrates your interest. Their answers might be brief, but your curiosity lets kids know you are available for listening.

Easy Evenings
It's particularly important to establish nightly routines when your children are young. Although these will change as your kids grow, the foundation laid now will stay strong.

Young kids feel competent when they can help with routines like setting the table, clearing the dishes, and loading the dishwasher. As they get a little older, they will complain about chores, but the chores will give structure to their days.

Try to eat at the same time on weeknights. Follow the meal with expected nightly activities: homework, a game, a television show, a bath, stories, and songs.

When youngsters get sleepy, a familiar routine makes going to bed far easier and happier. Say goodnight with the same words, phrases, or gestures. You will find that even as your kids grow into their teenage years, these phrases will reassure them in difficult times.