Establish a routine
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Syndicated column from The Parent
[OCT. 5, 2005]
Q: I was excited to have school start again. I
was looking forward to some structure in our household after a
free-spirited, chaotic summer. We did well for the first couple of
weeks, but here we are -- it's madness again. I can't seem to get a
handle on everyone's schedules, homework, chores -- you name it. We
A: The start of a new
school year is always exciting. Everyone starts with a clean slate
and vows that this year will be different. But it doesn't take long
to realize this also means kids and parents need to make some
adjustments. Routines -- dependable, straightforward ways of
handling day-to-day family life -- are wonderful for keeping your
home manageable and peaceful. And it's not too late to get your
family back into a good routine for this school year. Here's how you
Use everyone's best ideas to
create a list of what everyone will do and when. Include things
like getting ready for school, breakfast, leaving for school,
dinner, homework, backpacks by the door, reading and bedtime.
Have everyone also write down
their activities as they are scheduled. This will help you plan
ahead. (Soccer on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. will have an effect on
homework time and dinner.)
Write the schedule on a chart and
post the chart where everyone will see it. Give out gold stars
or stickers on those great days when everything goes according
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It's also a good idea to establish three important rules. Discuss
them as a family and make sure everyone understands what you expect
now that they are back in school.
Homework rule. Set a
specific time and place to do homework. Determine that there
will be no TV, video games or telephone time until homework is
finished. Set the pattern yourself. Use this time to take care
of bills or correspondence, for example.
TV rule. Monitor the kinds
of images and programs your children watch. Establish the amount
of time your children will watch TV or play video games. Enforce
- Reading rule. Set aside some time each day for
reading. Read to or with your children -- every day. Be a good
role model. If your children are old enough to read on their
own, sit nearby and let them see you reading, too.
Stay committed to your routines for 21 days. That means a lot of
reminders to "Put your backpack by the door." But research has shown
that it takes that long for routines to become habit. Children do
best when they know what to expect, and the structure and stability
your routines create will help your family thrive.
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.
Copyright © 2005, The Parent