Hands up if you started off the school holidays with a lazy couple of days? They were probably not only necessary but well deserved! School holidays are often synonymous with sleep-ins, pyjama days, late nights, extended TV time, special treats, erratic meal times and then suddenly the morning mayhem prior to the school day returns with a bang. It is important for kids to have relaxed holidays. Like us they need their down time but like us they also function better if they have a structure to their day so they know what to expect.
Some teachers have a timetable up on the wall so that kids know what lessons are ahead of them, and most teachers have a set routine in the morning. For Kindergarten it is often something like: roll call, weather chart, and sounds.
Just like school, children benefit from a similar practice at home. Getting ready for the day ahead is an important tool for life. Good modelling from parents and encouraging responsibility for some tasks that are achievable by children is beneficial.
There are so many things that need to occur before a child sets off for school each day. Work on a list of all the tasks together and make it clear which ones you expect them to do. Try to be realistic according to their age. A friend of mine has taken a photo of all the tasks she expects her son to perform in the morning. They are stuck behind the wardrobe door so he has a visual cue to know what he needs to do. Other children might be fine with a list on the door. Having clear expectations that are consistent each day helps everyone.
A healthy breakfast is key
A healthy breakfast should be made first priority. When a child walks into a classroom in the morning they are bringing whatever emotional state they left the house in that morning with them to their work. A child that is unhurried, happy and calm is going to approach their work with the same state of mind. A child that hasn’t eaten is going to be distracted and lethargic.
After school routine
The same applies following school. Children should have some down time each afternoon but an evening routine helps their quality and quantity of sleep. Tired children don’t engage as well with their learning as those who are rested. Now is the time to put into action a game plan for the first day of school. Get those uniforms ready the night before. Have the kids put their bags out ready (and check for lunch boxes!) and don’t forget to set the alarm! Good luck! This piece was originally written in 2011 for Kidspot as part of their Bright Buddies series, sponsored by Kelloggs.