Research shows that children benefit from routines, and having this consistency in their lives is helpful. The problem with the pandemic, though, is that it’s turned our routines upside-down with bedtimes and typical routines changing. Throwing a 2-month summer break on top of that may leave many parents wondering how they will get their children ready to go back to school in a few weeks.
If you’re starting to feel anxious about getting back into the swing of things this Fall, you are not alone. I am in the exact same boat. My 9-year-old son has been staying up late almost every single night and spending way too much time on screens now that his summer camp is finished. In thinking about how I will go about getting him back into a routine, I decided to put on my Learning Strategist hat and utilize the strategies I recommend to many of the students that I work with. Here is what I have come up with and the strategies I will be implementing over the next few weeks in hopes that we can start out strong this September.
The first thing I plan to do is ensure I have a really positive mindset about school. I will show enthusiasm about getting organized and help set the tone that school is exciting and learning is fun. This is really helpful for children as they really do feed off the cues of the adults around them. If you treat school like it’s something pleasant then your children are more likely to catch that vibe too.
Next, I will work on re-establishing self-care routines which will include getting my son ready for bed a little bit earlier every night. If you don’t start weaning children off the late nights, they can have a really hard time adjusting once the school year starts. Sleep is such a crucial factor for learning and being tired definitely makes paying attention and remembering a lot more difficult.
After that, I will move onto dealing with the screens. My son loves to play games on his iPad and watch YouTube videos. He will would watch videos all day long if I’d let him! My plan is to give him a solid time limit and stick to it. I will slowly begin to decrease the amount of screen time he gets so that when school begins it isn’t such a drastic change. Many of the things that our children engage with on a screen are highly addictive and if you do not start to curb those addictions now, it may be more challenging to do so once school starts.
Since we don’t know what lies ahead of us in terms of a potential 4th wave, now is also a great time to reflect on how things went during the previous lockdowns. Thinking about what went well and what didn’t go so well can help you to be prepared if we happen to find ourselves in the same position again.
Remember—you don’t need to have the same routine as you had in 2019 back when things were “normal.” Taking this time to prepare and reset can be a great opportunity for you and your family to evaluate what you value about daily life and what you wish to keep from the quarantine life (e.g., evening family time).
And if you feel like you need some support in getting your child back on track, I will be hosting my Get Back on Track Workshops this week. These workshops will cover strategies for how to get in gear for this upcoming school year including:
- Self-care, mental health and well-being
- Time management and organizational skills
- Decreasing digital distractions
- Strategies for improving focus and productivity
- How to read and take notes in class
- How to study and learn more efficiently and effectively
I will be offering the following workshops to meet the needs of students of all ages:
- Primary students in JK to grade 5 (Parent workshop): Tuesday, August 24 7-9 pm or Monday, August 30 4-6 pm
- Middle school students in grade 6-8 (Student workshop): Monday, August 23 from 6-8 pm or Tuesday, August 24 from 4-6 pm
- High school Students in grade 9-12 (Student workshop): Thursday, August 26 from 4-6 pm or Wednesday, September 1 from 6-8 pm
- Post-Secondary students in college or university: Wednesday, August 25 from 4-6 pm
I’d love it if you joined me. Let’s get back on track together.