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School Days - Top 10 Tips for Establishing a Good Routine

Sat, 09 Aug 2008 17:43:00 +0000

Teachers know that children thrive in an environment withroutines, boundaries and rules. Unfortunately, parents oftenforget it! And yet by establishing good routines andencouraging children to help you maintain them, you have anopportunity to set a pattern and a discipline that will staywith your children for the rest of their lives. You willmake school days easier and far less stressful, reduce thechances of starting your day late or dragging on foreverwith the homework, put an end to nagging and shouting, andhave happier, more relaxed kids.Here are 10 tips for establishing a solid, school dayroutine.1.Lay the breakfast table the night beforePut everything out apart from perishables. If you keep allyour breakfast things in one cupboard or one area of thekitchen this routine will be easier to establish, and olderchildren can take it in turns to do it.2.Put out your clothes the night beforeLay out a complete set of clothes for each child, checkingthem as you do it. Older children should do this themselves- you can double check when you say goodnight. Then ifsomething is missing (or shoes need polishing) you have timeto put it right. Lay your own clothes out too!3.Brush teeth at the kitchen sinkKeep a toothbrush and toothpaste for each child in thekitchen and brush teeth at the kitchen sink immediatelyafter breakfast. It may not be perfect for the house-proud,but if you send your child out of your sight to do a chorein the morning, you lose control. If you lose control, hemay start dawdling.4.Set up base campEstablish a "base camp" where the children keep all theirschool things. You will need room for kit bags, satchels,swimming bags, sports equipment, ballet bags, library booksand whatever else the kids need! Provide at least one hookper child for their coats (in our house kids must hang coatsup as soon as they take them off) and a basket or box forschool shoes (in our house kids must put shoes in the box assoon as they take them off too - sometimes they do!)Anotherbasket or box for each child can be used as a place to putanything that needs to go to school - gloves, letters toteachers, music, library books etc. Everything is in itsplace and ready to go out the door first thing in themorning without any fuss.5.Make a listFill out a schedule of what is needed at school on each dayand pin it up at "base camp". Check each morning before youwalk out the door that you have the appropriate kit. Youwill find a school week planner to print here:6.Nail up a notice boardKeep a notice board at "base camp" so that you can pin upreminders, invitations, school menus or whatever else youneed to keep tabs on.7.Do it now!If anything comes home from school that requires yourattention, do it immediately. Fill out forms and put themstraight back into the satchel. Write dates into your diarythere and then, and reply the same day too. If you postponeit, you will forget it! 8.Give homework a homeEstablish a place and time for doing homework and stick toit. Keep dictionaries and other necessary books nearby, aswell as a spare set of pencils, rulers and other stationeryyou might need. Make sure that homework is put back intosatchels as soon as it is completed and that satchels arereturned to "base camp" straightaway. Get out a kitchentimer if kids are reluctant to start (or finish!)9.Be preparedIf your car is running short of petrol (gas), fill it up onthe way home from school in the afternoon rather thanpanicking the following morning! As you drive home, run amental check on whether you have the necessary supplies fordinner, and breakfast. Nothing makes kids more miserable inthe morning than an empty fridge.10.Get aheadSet your alarm to wake you up 10 minutes earlier than usual.You will be amazed at how much more in control that 10minutes will make you feel. And finally, leave for school 5minutes early. Arriving early takes away an enormous amountof stress and will put your children in the right mood forschool.Are you convinced? Start initiating some routines in yourschool days and you and your kids will feel the benefitsvery quickly. Making sur[...]