The 2018 school year is due to start next week Wednesday (Q the angel choir), for those of you who aren’t South African or live in the Northern hemisphere of the world, the seasons are obviously switched so our kids start the school year in January (just after the xmas spenditure, yay us) and December is therefore our longest holiday, around 6 weeks, which is a long time guys, especially if you consider that as a working parent you only get 15 days of leave a year, to put that in perspective, my 15 days did not even cover this holiday and there are 3 other holiday periods during the year, where are you supposed to get all the leave from and don’t even go there with holiday care which is hellishly expensive, its actually pretty disgusting R100-R150 per day x 2 kids if the holiday is 10 days long that’s already R3000 just for one holiday period and 2 kids, but anyhoo I am rambling as per usual, back to what this post is actually about.
So we are heading into the new school year and one of the things I have found most difficult to deal with during the holidays is the kids being out of their routine and I think most moms would agree with me that is has a very real impact on a child’s demeanor and behavior, in short they become little tyrants, my youngest especially combine late nights with lots of fun trips and way more sugar than they usually are allowed to have and the end result is just terrible, so I am all too eager to embrace our school routine.
In our household I usually start getting back into the routine a few days before school starts so that on day one of school they are not tired and miserable zombies so I thought I would share some of the things that we do heading up to school time and what factors influence our routine.
The thing that I find most influences our children’s ability to settle down and get a good night’s rest is technology, especially in younger children or children with sensory issues, tv, computers, tablets etc they cause over stimulation of the brain which in turn stops your child from being able to calm and settle down, ie their brain just won’t shut down for the evening. So we have already started with no tech in the bedrooms at bedtime and instead of games etc we put on a short movie after bath/ supper and then do a meditation before bed.
We have already started cutting back on sugar heading into next week, during the week I do not allow the kids to have sugary cereals, they can choose between a cooked breakfast, yogurt and fruit or a porridge and no treats after 6pm.
I have found of late that Gabriel especially has been struggling to settle down for the evening and well switch off so I found a youtube channel that does the most wonderful guided meditations for kids, 20 minutes before bedtime we all lie down on blankets and get comfortable and the kids choose a meditation, by the end of the twenty minutes they are ready for bed and fall asleep easily, it also allows us to do an activity together and for the whole family to calm down and release all the energy we have collected throughout the day, even I am sleeping better and I have suffered with periods of insomnia since my mid-teens.
We have a set bedtime period in our home; ie the kids are in bed between 8 and 8:30 they should be asleep, whether we get them into bed at 8:05 or they take a while to fall asleep they are asleep by 8:30, on the occasion that one of the kids does have an issue falling asleep I allow them to read a book and fall asleep through that.
Bedtime is incredibly important in our household as a parent my day doesn’t end at bedtime and I still have things to do, the time we have established also seems to be the best fit for our family, I found that when bedtime was 19:30 we would struggle to get the kids to sleep in the summer months and we would also end up rushing through dinner etc in an effort to get the kids to bed on time, this way we as a family are more relaxed and everyone wakes up happy and refreshed.
Routine to me is more important than timing, i.e. I have a set way of running our household that works for our family and I feel that sticking to that order of things is a lot more important than clock watching, so I fetch my older kids first after work and then my youngest, we arrive home I unpack bags and do lunches, I then start supper and either get the kids into the shower or my hubby arrives home and does this.
By the time the kids are done supper is usually ready, we eat and then all settle down to watch something, at around 7:40 we then settle down for meditation and then off to bed.
By this I mean making allowances in your routine for special occasions or weekends, for instance in our family the kids are allowed to stay up late on either a Friday or Saturday evening, we play it by ear, we do popcorn and we all curl up together for some family time.
Likewise for special occasions like birthdays or a public holiday the following day I do not place as much emphasis on bedtime and the other restrictions as I usually would.
This lee way allows a form of compromise with the kids and gives them something to look forward to on occasion or weekends which makes it even more special plus bribery people!
That’s about it I guess, is there anything you do that you feel helps with the routine in your household or makes your routine run better, I would love to know.
I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful start to the new school year and that all your kiddos have an awesome first day back if they are not back already!