Updated: Sep 2, 2019
The transition from August to September is usually loaded with lots of changes. This is when you are going back home after nice holidays and it is also the time for your kids to go back to school.
How easy is it this year? Are your kids going to the same class, with the same friends, doing the same activities, taking the same school bus? A tiny little change in last year perfect mechanism is like a butterfly effect and you have to redesign the entire family schedule.
Why are routines so important for kids?
We all know how crazy the school year can get. Children will relentlessly be exposed to new experiences and you know that each first-time experience is more difficult and more stressful. This is why children need routines to feel safe and contained.
This is true during times of significant transition like after a long summer break but it’s also true for smaller transition like the one from week-end to Monday. But here is the good news. There is an antidote. And it is as simple as ... ROUTINE!
So what do you have to do to help your love ones?
Step 1 - In case of emergency, put your oxygen mask first
In case of emergency, by helping others first, a person may lose his or her ability to help the others, to recognize faces and shapes, and eventually pass out.
Your journey in life is similar. If you want to help your kids, you first have to help yourself. The best way to achieve this is to set up and execute your own morning routines.
In The morning Miracle, Hal Elrod created a set of daily morning routines which he called the SAVERS (Scribing, Affirmation, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing). In his book he then challenges you to practice his SAVERS for 30 days to start the best year of your life.
I started to practice these routines in April 2016. Since then I adapted them but their essence remains the same
My daily morning routines looks something like that:
I manage to do these routines by waking up 30 minutes before my “normal time”,
I start my day by 5 minutes of yoga / stretching inspired by a mix of the YouTube channel “Yoga with Adrienne” and recommendations from physiotherapists each time I get injured,
Then I meditate 15 minutes with a free app: Insight Timer. I either use the timer or a guided meditation. I only reach the 15 minutes mark recently after progressively increasing the duration of the sessions,
Once my mind is quiet, I practice gratitude and I say out loud 3 things I am grateful for,
Finally, I visualize my day. From my daughters wake up, to our family breakfast, through the journey to the school but and even further across my work day.
Once my morning routines are finished, I feel at peace and relax. The first thing that my wife and daughters see when they get up is a welcoming smiling face. And guess what, even if they wake up in a bad mood, I generally manage to make them smile and then another happy day begins.
There is not a single routine model that fit everybody. It is up to you to find the one which is the best for you. Reading The Morning Miracle would definitively help you.
Now that you have set up yourself for success, it’s time to take care of the kids.
Step 2 - Define activities you have to schedule
Below are the basic examples but there are a lot of other possibilities you can add:
Hygiene: Wash hand when back home, take bath or shower, brush toots,
Nutrition: Breakfast, family diner, after school snack, drink a lot of water,
Wake up time, bed time, sleep time, nap time,
Communication with school and teachers,
School bag and clothes preparation for the next day,
Screen time: In modern families this is almost inevitable so the best way to control it, is to consider it and plan it in your daily routines.
Step 3 – Get information and schedule
Collect the dates of your kids’ holidays and the special events (like the Christmas party). Check out the holidays you have already booked for Christmas or Chinese New Year for example.
If you have not yet planed the after-school activities find out the schedule options
Step 4 - Plan and execute
Now that you have everything in hand, it’s time to plan
Start by planning your calendar for the year:
You can use excel or a calendar that you stick to the fridge but if you have a Google account, use it.
You can actually create a new calendar and share it with the whole family. It is very easy.
Once you have added the exams dates and the holidays, you just need to schedule the activities
Finally, it’s time for your routines
The easiest way to keep your routines simple is to use a tracker.
By using it daily, the tasks in this tracker will eventually change to an autopilot mode and your kids will execute them without thinking about it
Now you have all the info you need to make this back to school very easy, You just need to follow the plan
Examples of routine tools and trackers
I like the After School Routine Clock from www.heatherednest.com Have a look at her website for a step by step DIY description
I also like the routine tracker from Wendaful.com. You can also find a DIY step by step on her website