Welcome to my blog series focused on this tricky time of year. It's a time of renewal, of change, of routines and calendars filling up. For some, it's a relief from summertime busy-ness. For others, it can be a time of dread.
I'd like to share some tips I have learned with you, both as a parent educator and as an elementary school teacher of 10 years. In my first post, I addressed the single most important thing you can do as parents of a school-aged child. You can find that post here.
In this post, the second in my series, I would like to talk to you about rhythm and routine. These two things are the drum that you, as parents are going to row your boat to.
From a neurological standpoint, your child may become disregulated with all the changes that September brings. This may look like acting out, tantrums, shutting down and becoming quieter than usual, asking for extra closeness and comfort. Brain studies have demonstrated that young people can not regulate themselves. They need connection and comfort from their primary caregivers to make sense of changes.
One way that we can co-regulate is through rhythm and routine. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, try to establish what your school year rhythm and routine will look like. What time will we need to get out of bed, have breakfast, be out the door? What will the rhythm of your day-to-day look like? Make sure that you have built in lots of downtime. New school-goers will be tired after a full day or play and learning. Try to hold off on extracurriculars until October, to allow for some time to transition. As there is no cookie cutter human, there is no set routine that I can provide, however, I'm happy to share a sample:
7:00am - wake up
7:30am - dressed and breakfast (Sitting down for breakfast together has been shown to promote healthy attachment and attunement between parent and child.)
8:00am - pack backpacks/lunches/ scramble to fill out forms
8:30am - out the door
3:30pm - pick up and snack (hungry people are often disregulated people!)
4:00pm - connection time (games, household activities, deconstruct your days...something to bring you back together)
5:00pm - dinner
6:00pm - homework/piano lessons, etc.
7:00pm - bath and bedtime
I know that day-to-day things change and nothing can be set in stone. But creating a predictable, COMFORTING routine will help establish connection, which is the only way children can regulate. When children know where the next activity is taking place, and who is going to be present at dinner, they can rest in that rhythm.
If you would like help in establishing a rhythm in your household, or want to hear more about how you can support your child get ready for school, please Contact me here.
Don't forget about the info night I'm holding at The Hive London on August 23rd. Tickets can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/september-parenting-tickets-36695881369.