As summer comes to an end, some parents are sad that the warm days of little routine are over–while other parents are eager for a return to the school year's normalcy. Regardless of what your summer schedule with your children looks like, it is likely that you have seen some shift from your traditional school year routine.
While the prospect of returning to school is exciting for most kids, it is anxiety-inducing for others. It is essential to set up a daily routine during the last few days of summer vacation, similar to the routine during school time, in order to ease your children back into the more rigid routine of school days.
In this blog, we will review tips for getting your kids back into a routine before the school year starts and how you can help your child if they are feeling anxious about the start of school.
Discover BLOOM’s helpful parenting courses and the benefits of our paid online subscription, including popular courses on Anxiety, Parenting a Needy Child, Fear, Anxiety, Stress, and Phobia, and more.
Why Routines Matter
No matter what a routine may look like–routines matter. Especially for children, they help them anticipate what is coming next, which reduces anxiety and emotional outbursts (especially for opinionated toddlers!).
A good morning routine for children helps them decrease their cortisol levels. Morning routines for your children do not need to be overly involved–it can simply be following the same cadence of waking up, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, a cuddle on the couch, getting dressed, and heading to school. You can add single elements as necessary if you sense your existing routine is not enough for your child to feel calm and ready for the day.
During transition periods like the start of school, it is often necessary to help your child re-establish a successful morning routine. For children with attention deficits or ones that experience sensory overload, familiar and predictable routines are key.
Setting Up Successful Routines
With children, key elements will help you successfully set up any new routine. Following these easy steps will help your children feel less anxious and more excited about starting school.
- Make sure they get enough sleep. Sleep is so important (that is part of why we made a whole course about it!).
- Offer a healthy breakfast. Even if you have a picky eater, our course from BLOOM can help you ensure your child is fueled for the day.
- Use a family wall calendar. A visual aid in your kitchen or dining area can help your child visualize how long until school starts so the first day of school does not come as a surprise.
- Set up clothes and organize their belongings the night before. Helping your child prep for school the night before will help them feel prepared and ready to tackle the next day. It will also help you, as the parent, facilitate a smooth morning routine!
5 Tips to Help Your Child Establish a Routine Before School Starts
For starters, make sure you are waking your child up in the morning at their school day wake time so they can adjust to an early morning start once again.
- Waking up with a Mom or Dad as the alarm is always a nice idea
- Place some ice cubes next to the bed, preferably made of something tart, like grapefruit or cranberry juice. Or something warm to drink like tea with honey, hot cocoa, or decaf coffee.
- Offering crunchy foods, a sports bottle of water, or a tart drink for breakfast can help your child wake up more fully.
- Play calming transitional music in the kitchen where breakfast is waiting or will be prepared for a calming and regulating start to the day.
- Wake yourself (yes, you, the parent!) earlier before your children wake–this helps children transition easier into the morning routine with you.
- When you need to give your child instructions in the morning, instead of simply saying it, use rhythm to help it penetrate and teach them a routine. For example, you can sing-song to a rhythmic tune; now it's time to go upstairs, go downstaira, go downstairs, now it's time totake off pajamas, take off pajamas
Prepare for the Start of School with BLOOM
The start of school each fall sparks all kinds of feelings for children and parents–from excitement and happy anticipation to anxiety and dread; all of these feelings are normal.
As a parent, you can help your child immensely with the transition to the school year by establishing a predictable morning routine that you have practiced before the first day of school.
For additional help with your child, discover a wide range of courses to support your child’s needs. BLOOM offers courses on Parenting a Needy Child, Anxiety, Impulsivity, Sleep, Emotional Control, and Regulation, and so much more.