As the back-to-school season is upon us, we understand that the transition can be both exciting and challenging for you and your child. At Present Not Perfect, we're committed to supporting your family’s emotional health, and we're here to offer some valuable tips on how to navigate this transition smoothly and establish a strong routine that sets your child up for success.
Here are five tips on the topic of routine during this time of year:
- Support All the Feels: Engage in open conversations with your child about the upcoming school year, taking time to listen to their feelings, expectations, and any concerns they might have about their new routine. Sometimes, we have preconceived opinions about school based on our own experiences. For example, my husband did not enjoy elementary school as he experienced bullying and overcrowded chaotic classrooms; while I did enjoy elementary school and do a happy dance whenever I smell new school supplies. We have chatted about how important it is that we don’t project our own expectations (negative or positive) onto our daughter as she starts Kindergarten this year and work hard to support her and listen to where she is at. She will likely have a wide range of feelings about the new routines. Our main goal is for her to feel heard, understood, and supported as she experiences so many new things this year.
- Create a Visual Schedule: Visual schedules are great tools for children to understand their daily routines. (Personally, it helps the grown-ups in our neurodiverse home, too!) Together with your child, create a simple easy-to-follow schedule that includes pictures (you could draw or print out) of your morning routine and what an average day would look like. Display it in a shared space. Visual schedules can be especially helpful when a change in the routine is coming up where you can adjust and talk about it with your child ahead of time to help everyone feel more prepared.
- Set Consistent Bedtimes: Getting enough sleep is crucial for your child's overall well-being and energy levels for a day of school. Establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes calming activities like reading or listening to soothing music. You may even choose to create a visual schedule for this bedtime routine as well; this can really help especially when everyone feels so exhausted adjusting to the new norms this month.
- Try Morning Rituals: We all know how it feels to be running late to something, scrambling around, feeling rushed, possibly forgetful, and starting your day feeling stressed and anxious. A great way to avoid this is to try creating a few positive and calm morning rituals. Allow extra time for breakfast and getting ready, so your child starts the day feeling relaxed and prepared. Small routines, like a morning affirmation or a quick mindfulness game at the breakfast table, can help set a positive tone for the day.
- Build In Down Time: After a busy school day, your child might need time to unwind. Provide a designated space and reserved time for relaxation, whether it's through creative play, quiet reading, outdoor exploration time, or setting out one of your favorite Calm Kits for some soothing sensory play time can be an important part of your daily routine.
Remember, the journey towards a routine that feels right for you is unique for every family. At Present Not Perfect, we're here to support you every step of the way. Our Calm Kits are designed to provide engaging and calming sensory play that complements your efforts in nurturing your child's emotional literacy and well-being. If you’re looking for a kit that specifically gives more resources on this topic, be sure to check out our Farming Kit all about Routine!
Wishing you a smooth and empowering back-to-school transition!
We’re right here with you,
Abbie & Emily