Back to School time….when I was a kid, this was one of my favorite times of year. Call me crazy, but I loved all the freshly sharpened pencils, the untouched notebooks, and the brand new box of crayons just waiting for me to create my next masterpiece. Back to school time….as a mom….is not necessarily my favorite time of year any more.
After a fun filled and relaxing summer, it seems that my kids have lost all understanding of a schedule or routine. The late nights and lazy mornings of summer are long gone, and that 6am (or sometimes even earlier) alarm is now our worst enemy! Instead of easing into the school year calm, cool, and collected, I end up always in a rush, nagging my children about EVERYTHING, and finding that I am never on time.
But I’ve discovered that it doesn’t really have to be that difficult.
They would probably never admit it, but my kids do much better and are much happier when they are following a routine or schedule. Whether we are 5 years old or 95 years old, we all function better when we know what is expected of us – right?!?!?!
Having a simple checklist for the morning and evening routines has helped my family run more smoothly. Everyoneknows what is expected of them and instead of me telling and begging them to do something a million times, they look at their checklist and get things done. This has allowed our mornings to be more enjoyable with less stress and we actually get out the door on time (if not a few minutes early). At night, my kids are getting to bed on time and actually getting the sleep they need to start the next day refreshed and ready to go!
The importance of sleep is not lost on me…that is the time when their little brains have time to rest and grow and it is SO very important. In order to promote optimal health, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:
These simple checklists can really work for almost any age child. For the little ones who are not yet reading, picture charts work great. Check out this one you can find and print for free on the CDC website:
For the older kids, a simple laminated list will do the trick. You can also attach a dry erase marker if you have a child that likes to check things off as they are completed. It is easy to add tasks to your list to tailor it and make it specific for your family, but some basic ones you might want to include are:
Like any new habit, it will take a few days to get into the groove of your routine, but before you know it, your mornings and nights will be much more relaxing!
Hope you find your way to sweet dreams and peaceful mornings soon!!