We are welcoming in 2016, we’re more than half way through the 2015/16 school year, and we all need to get back on track with our routines. Remember that strong morning, evening, and homework routines make home life a breeze instead of a nightmare! Last week we looked at our morning routine. Let’s continue our tune-up by polishing up our evening routine:
1. Look at how many times a week your family is eating dinner together. If you don’t have family dinner at least four nights a week, see if you can figure out how to add another night. Soup and sandwiches is family dinner. Frozen pizza is family dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast is family dinner. It’s not what you eat! The point is to eat together and talk to each other. No TV, no texting. Conversation!
2. Think about what is happening between dinner and bedtime. Are activities over-stimulating your kids and making it hard for them to settle down? Remember that whole evening routine goes better if you keep it calm and easy. It’s not the time for wild play, scary movies, or loud video games.
3. Check out bedtimes! Are the kids consistently getting to bed on time? Are some adjustments in order? Remember that school-age children need 9-10 hours of sleep every night to be healthy and mentally alert. This absolutely has to be a parental priority. If outside activities are significantly disrupting bedtime, then the family needs to reassess the importance of those outside activities. Tired children have trouble learning and behaving.
4. How are your bedtime routines holding up? Are you starting the routine about an hour before bedtime? Is the routine consistent for each child, so their body is trained to sleep at the end of it? At the end of your evening routine, does each child have their backpack packed up and ready by the door? Are clothes selected and laid out for the morning? Everything that you can do to keep the morning smooth and easy is time well spent!
5. When you finally say good night, have you had a loving, quiet, calm interaction with your child to close out the day? If not, pick out one thing to change and start doing that tomorrow.
6. Laugh, enjoy your kids, stay positive, and don’t try to be perfect! It’s not possible anyway.