Setting routines

Setting routines

Make back-to-school time easier.

A new school year means new routines, or at least getting back into the old ones. Whether you are a teacher, a parent battling rushed mornings, or a homeschool educator, routines can be your best friend. Kids usually adjust quickly as long as you stick to the same routine each day. Take a few minutes to solidify your expected rhythm and hopefully things will go much more smoothly.

Teachers

After the morning rush most kids need a few minutes to ease into the school day. This is why circle time is so popular in early education. Beyond that, try and schedule certain activities for set blocks of time. I always posted our routine somewhere in the room. Many children find comfort in knowing what to expect next. Be willing to adapt your routine as you get to know your students. Some groups are better able to handle quiet work in the mornings, while others need quiet time in the afternoon.

Parents

Sometimes it's easier to get the kids into a routine than to do it ourselves, but the whole family has to be on board for it to work well. Kids (and adults!) should go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. If you allow weekend sleeping in, it should be for more than a half hour or so, or the rhythm gets messed up. Prep for morning before you go to bed – have lunches prepared, school clothes and backpacks set out, and even the breakfast table set. The first few days are usually rocky, but once everyone adjusts it goes more smoothly. If your children have daily homework or reading, do it at the same time daily. Right after school, before dinner, after dinner – it doesn't matter as long as you are consistent.

Homeschoolers

I couldn't homeschool if it wasn't for our routine. I know many families eschew formal schedules, but I find it helps us ease back into the school year to have a set schedule for at least the first couple of weeks. You can schedule loosely (i.e. mornings are for language arts, afternoons for other subjects) or have a set time block for each subject. Follow a set morning and evening routine to stay on track. I go a step further and assign days to certain activities- Tuesdays and Fridays are field trip/library days, Wednesdays we grocery shop in the afternoon, that sort of thing. My kids both enjoy knowing what to expect and I get less push back on subjects they dislike since they know they only have to do it for a set amount of time.