Getting Your Child Back Into the ROUTINE of Things

Back-to-school season is here and Collierville-area children are probably getting excited about shopping for new clothes and being able to see their school friends. And, while education is an essential part of growing up, other factors like waking up earlier in the morning, brushing teeth and packing a school lunch are also important, as it helps develop an organized lifestyle and further a child’s growth. It is so important for children to get into the routine of going to sleep at a reasonable time, knowing what daily morning chores they need to accomplish each day and other things of the like. In addition, the school year is great because it allows children to be around their peers more often throughout the day, and this promotes social stability. We encourage parents to get the ball rolling and start implementing these routines – even before the school year begins. Routine establishes many aspects of healthy living, good habits and good behavior that even the slightest structure can make a huge difference in a child’s day-to-day life. We suggest that parents with young children ask themselves the following questions:

Do you post a list of nighttime and morning to-dos on your child’s bedroom door or on the kitchen refrigerator as daily guidelines for your children?

• Do you read a bedtime story to your child each night?

• Do you have a designated area in your child’s room or elsewhere in the home for your child to store his or her coat and school book bag?

• Does your child have a bedtime on school nights and on weekends?

• Do you wake up your child in the morning? Or, does your child have an alarm clock in his or her room to wake up on time? If you have answered “no” to most of these questions, it might be time to implement more routine chores. The following are ideas that could help parents save time and institute organizational skills for their kids:

• Be sure to discuss the highlights and events that happened at school with your child each day. • Help your child prepare for school the night before, including assisting your child in selecting clothes to wear for school. After a while, he or she will be able to do this without your assistance.

• Designate a time each night that your child should go to sleep. Children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age.

• Choose an area in the home, such as by the front door, to store your child’s school bag and any supplies he or she may need for school (e.g., art projects, thank-you notes/ gifts for teachers).

• Have a daily to-do list posted in an area your child will see each day. Just like we practice at The Goddard School, regular schedules create a day with structure.

The repetition of routines encourages your child’s memory development, and the consistency helps him or her adjust to a regular schedule.

Cathy Jo Mattson is an on-site owner at The Goddard School in Collierville; 901.861.0108