It's that time of year - Back to School!
To some that exclamation point is a slap in the face (many students). To others (most parents) I should've added three or four more. Regardless of where your opinion lies, one truth is clear: establishing a system is vital for a happy home, successful child, and sane parenting. Nobody likes disarray, outbursts, tantrums or consistent inconsistency...yet the honest truth is that we get back what we invest in. In other words, we as adults are in control of this fate. Let me explain...
The routines you put in place now will be of HUGE benefit in February, March and beyond. There is an investment effect: the more you put in now, the more the benefits compound.
The keys are to come to shared ground between child(ren) and parent regarding what a day typically looks like, and then sticking to that plan. It's the "sticking" that is often most difficult because, much like investing, it's hard to watch something that moves slowly. Also, your child won't want to stick - it is your job, as the adult, to be the glue.
Sure, it would be easier to blow it up, take a withdrawal, and just wing it. And while this may be easier in the moment, in the long term we have sacrificed the stability our children need so dearly, and our house requires. And by the way, do you know what your school's teachers - lifetime professional educators - will be doing for the next 3-7 days? It won't be content, it will be routines, expectations and standards. In the teacher world we call this, "working slow now so we can work fast later".
Need proof? Join the numerous of CRC families already on board: purchase The Learning Habit. Then dive into the honest truth about raising children in a community, and reap the same benefits. With a good plan and some resolution, your child (and family) can be a STAR.
Helping your child be a…
Child development research is clear: Clear Expectations + Routines = Successful, Adjusted Children
Here is a simple acronym, which you could adjust, to help your child throughout the day…
Schedule the Morning:Wake-up time is consistent, the bed gets made*, list specific chores or duties like getting dressed, feeding a pet, double-checking school bags, brushing teeth, etc.
This all builds up to departure time, which should be well-stated and understood (“We will be in the car by 7:35…”)
Timeliness Matters:Starting your own work day behind affects the rest of your day and leaves you playing catch up. This stress is more pronounced with children who do not have the tools to walk into their day late and catch up. Again, routine is vital. Make sure your routine is to BE ON TIME.
Ask: Get in the habit of asking specific questions at the end of the day. The usual, “How was your day?” and “What did you learn today?” are OK starting points, but they should give you context for richer questions as the year goes on: “What did you and Joey do at recess?” or “I know Friday is spelling – how’d the test go?” or “Tell me all about May Crowning!”
Routine (again!):Literally map out the routine for after school. What’s the first thing that should happen when kids get home? Then do they get some time to play? When and where is study time (a quiet, well-lit place within view of an adult+)? When do chores take place? And please don’t forget bed time as you read and pray with your child within the same 30min time window every night. Tomorrow’s success begins tonight, so BE CONSISTENT!
*There are some interesting thoughts on how making your bed each morning builds character-enhancing qualities that impact not just the rest of the day, but a lifetime of good habits.
+Remember, even if a student has no homework, the time allotted to study still takes place with independent reading (not screen time!). Please read and consult the amazing book “The Learning Habit”