I’m really not that good at coming up with creative ideas on how to be a good caregiver but I do read a lot, and glean information from all sources. So the idea for this blog post has come from: Real Simple magazine September 2015 article “A+ Ideas For Back To School”.
As we get back to our routines after the holidays sometimes it can be difficult for our children to get re-focused on school, homework, and mornings.
Speaking of mornings let’s start with how to start our day with less stress (I’m not sure if this is possible but let’s give it a try):
- Start your morning the night before. Yup, lay out clothes, pack lunches, put homework in backpacks and ensure that homework REALLY is complete. Sunday take note of the upcoming week, what you need and what activities are on the calendar.
- A good idea for little ones is to make a chart with visual ques of steps that they need to follow in the morning: waking up, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, putting on shoes (you’d think this was obvious and went with getting dressed but no) and laminate a picture on the chart of what they look like when they are “ready” so they know what that looks like and they can immediately recognize what it looks like.
- Big sigh….expect to repeat yourself a ton of times even with the older kids. For whatever the reason kids get distracted by anything. Unless you can put them in a bubble, no wait, a silent booth that is mobile. Your kids will get distracted, and there is nothing you can do about it so remember that. Gently give your children physical cues to keep them on track such as putting your hands on their shoulders and guiding them to the direction you need them to go.
- Maybe put weird items in the kitchen. Sometimes when kids are on a roll breaking that roll with making them go back upstairs or a different part of the house might break their momentum so put hair ties in the kitchen, shoes by the breakfast table, socks on kitchen chairs, tooth brushes by the kitchen sink in a drawer with toothpaste. Whatever it is that keeps the momentum continuous arrange your house to meet the momentum and not break it no matter what interior designers say about shoulds.
How about AFTER SCHOOL? Try these tips:
- Prepare for meltdowns. You know, you want one when you get home from work (unfortunately you don’t get to have one but your kids actually will have one). Kids, like you, have been keeping it together all day and are ready to fall apart; like us. They can be dehydrated, low blood sugar, etc so have snacks ready. This can assist in eliminating grumpiness.
- Get them talking about their day. I don’t ask “how was your day” or “what did you do” because these questions aren’t real engaging for kids. Instead try what was the favorite thing you did today? Another form of getting them talking is to play a game of “Did or Didn’t” which goes like this: you child gets to tell you 2 truths about their day and 1 lie, then you get to guess which one is the lie. Also telling them stories about your school days gets them engaged, and they will be interrupting you to tell you similar stories.
- Before starting homework let them take time to themselves. Free time, so-to-speak. Let them choose how they want to unwind before they have to do homework, chores, etc. Let this free time truly be free time if they want to watch TV it doesn’t have to be a teaching program (unless they want it), let them have some screen time playing games if that’s their thing, let them have free play with toys, read a book that has nothing to do with school etc.
Just remember that after the holidays kids struggle just like we do getting back into their routines. It’s weird but kids are like us but with a little more emotional emphasis. Be kind, patient, and give them what you want when you’re tired. Kind of not that hard.