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Return to routine

Back to school. These three words can trigger feelings ranging from absolute joy to utter dread in children and adults alike. For children just starting school for the first time, the uncertainty of what to expect can cause anxiety. The majority of students returning to school look forward to reconnecting with friends, yet many fear having no friends/facing bullies and in many cases, few look forward to the routine of school work. And remember those adults I mentioned earlier? Whether you realize it or not, as a parent, you are more than likely experiencing a range of these emotions as well.
Get ready…
Reset – Odds are you and your children have been living by a different clock all summer, sleeping in late and going to bed later. In the days leading up to the first day of school, push your child’s bedtime forward by approximately 20 minutes until you reach an ideal bedtime, being sure the alarm clock rings at the time he/she needs to get up for school.
Talk clock- Of course moving back into a schedule means everything from playtime to computer time needs to end earlier, and odds are your child is not going to be impressed. Talk to younger children about the importance of sleep but let your child know that “it’s not that you HAVE to go to sleep, it’s that you get to go to sleep.” Older children understand the math, so calculate the hour at which he/she needs to get up in order to get to school on time and count backwards nine or so hours.

TODDLER 12-14 HRS.
CASA 10-12 HRS.
LOWER EL. 10-11 HRS.
UPPER EL./MYP 8-9 HRS.

get set…
Snack pack – While you’re in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up from dinner, why not dish extra into a microwave safe dish and pop it into your child’s lunch box? If that’s not your child’s favorite, have him/her join you in the kitchen and create a pizza sandwich or banana and soy butter “sushi roll”. Whatever your child’s food preference, packing lunch the night before leaves one less thing to do each morning.
Lay it out – An ideal activity for your child to complete before bed is to pick out clothes for the next day. Not only does this give your child something to look forward to each night (think fashion show), but more importantly it removes another item from the “to-dos” in the morning.
*This is not as much of an issue for our students wearing uniforms, but it will allow them to consider if it is a PE day or event requiring special attire*
GO!
Break the fast – Mornings move fast but can go slow, so prep (again) from the night before to avoid stress. If you have young children, offer them two choices to select from and write it on a wipe board. For older children, have items in the fridge/cabinets they can easily reach and prepare for themselves such as fruit and yogurt or pre-cut bagels with cream cheese. If you don’t shop the frozen food section, you can still enjoy the convenience of frozen food by cooking homemade pancakes or muffins in large batches and just toast them in the morning.
Hit the road- Let’s be honest…few of us get out of the house when intended. Consider setting the main clock in the house back by 15 minutes or simply setting a departure time 15 minutes before you NEED to leave. This will allow for extra time at home on the (hopefully few) days someone suffers a wardrobe malfunction or allow for additional settling in time at school/work.

Have a happy school year,
Ms. K

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