It’s almost back-to-school time and parents all over Australia are collecting school uniform, booking haircuts, buying stationery supplies, convincing their kids to try on new shoes, selecting lunch boxes, and looking forward to the routine of the school week, and the peace that descends when the kids are out of the house again.

But there’s more to preparing for back-to-school than just the stuff.  It’s that routine that I want to mention today.  One of the toughest things to adjust to when school goes back is the change in routine.  Families who have become used to the fun-filled, free-and-easy, lazy or crazy days and long evenings of summer can find it hard to switch back to more restricted schedules.  So how do you make the transition a happy one?

Start reinstating bedtimes, and waking times, about a week before school starts.  It could take that long for children to get comfortable with the change.  Remember the goal is for them to be alert, productive students at school, and happy, compliant humans at home.  Family life will be happier if the bedtime and morning routines are predictable and calm.  So how do you create a calm routine?

Allow for lots of extra time.  Hands up the parent who has children get ready in the morning without any disruptions, unexpected delays or dawdling!  It’s fairly normal for people, especially small ones, to veer off course now and then.  Allow for that in your estimations.  If a miracle should occur, and you’re all ready early, then you have a happy bonus of extra time up your sleeve for play or chat – what a luxury!

One more thing will make life on school mornings run more smoothly, and that’s preparing everything you need – bags, lunch, drink, uniform, notes – the night before.  Nothing causes stress like not being able to find an essential item at the last minute.  Avoid that by keeping all school-related items in a designated place, and keeping it all up to date.

All the best with your back-to-school routine.  Keep in mind that you can always make positive changes.  Even if your first weeks, months, or years have not gone smoothly, there is still the opportunity to make a difference.


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