Question: My kids will be back in school before I know it. What’s the best way to get back into a routine after a summer of late nights and sleeping in?
Answer: Since I’m not sure how old your kids are, I’ll have to keep my response kind of general.
My mom used to always try to “reset” us the week before school started by waking us up early and practicing for the real thing. I’m sure it was to calm her anxiety as much as to prepare us. Giving yourself some time to ease back into a routine and make adjustments as necessary is sensible. Hopefully younger kids haven’t been allowed to drift too far from their usual bedtimes and wake-ups.
It’s extremely important for pre-school and elementary aged kids to have predictable routines and ample sleep. If your kids are older – think upper middle-school and high school age – the first thing I would do is ask them how they plan to get “school ready.” Make this an opportunity to open up a broader discussion about their feelings toward the upcoming school year. What are their hopes and aspirations for the year? Look upon it as a fresh start and an occasion to set new goals. Ask what support they might need from you to be successful with their stated goals.
I know some parents will say, “My kid just doesn’t care! He won’t get up unless I scream at him.” This is why some conversation ahead of time is important. You want to set the right tone so you’re seen as an ally, not a drill sergeant. Find out what is motivating to your child and work it from that angle.
In addition, you can encourage your older child or teen to take more responsibility over their time management by acknowledging their past successes in this realm. Did they work a summer job? Did they keep up with a team sport or hobby this summer?
Such things demonstrate their capability. Use these experiences to stay positive and focused on what works for your child. Good luck!
As a PCI Certified Parent Coach, my task is to help parents look within for the answers they seek. I whole-heartedly believe there is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to child-rearing. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.