If a typical school morning sees your family rushing around and out the door with nary a moment to spare, only to be left feeling like you ran a marathon by 8 a.m., a new approach to your routine might be necessary. A few simple changes can be made at home to give your child the best start to his or her school day. Here are seven tips on how to calm the chaos from Enterprise Facebook followers, Holyoke Elementary Principal Andrea Kammer and Kathleen Kropp, Holyoke Elementary School counselor and licensed family counselor.
1. Get plenty of sleep.
“Sleep is the most important gift you can give a child,” said Kropp. Elementary school children need nine to 11 hours of sleep each night, she said. It’s also important to limit extra activities, especially in the first month of school, because children are experiencing more stress and will be more tired. You might have to say no to a few things for the sake of your child. In addition, parents need to be the boss and set rules about keeping cellphones, video games and other distractions out of the bedroom.
2. Establish a routine.
Before the school year starts, talk with children about what their evening and morning routines will look like. Establish a bedtime and wake-up time a week before school so they can start getting used to it, and then keep up that routine throughout the year. Try to have some unscheduled time after school each day so that kids can decompress. That might mean letting them play by themselves or simply being a good listener as they share the details of their day.
3. Do as much as possible the night before.
Showers/baths, laying out clothes/shoes and packing lunches can all happen in the evening before bedtime. “Just like adults, if we are rushed and don’t have time to get ready for the day because we woke up late, we usually do not have a good day. Kids are the same way if we rush them to get ready or expect that they get everything done in a shorter amount of time,” said Kammer.