SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Why School and Home Routines are Important for Students—6 Tips

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In my 1st grade class, we spend the first few weeks of the new school year establishing classroom routines. These routines are both academic and organizational.

Routines are important because they give children a clear sense of what to expect.  Rules follow a pattern and offer a sense of stability.

Here are 6 simple routines you can establish at home to ease the morning “time crunch:”


1. Schedule the same time for bed each school night, and stick to it. Be sure to include time to read a story together, before “lights out.”


2. Have a specific place for homework. Make sure your child puts the homework away in his backpack before going to bed. (This eliminates the “My Mom forgot to put it in my backpack” excuse!)


3. Strive to have your child finish  homework within a certain time frame. Work with a timer, in five or ten minute increments. Take a small break between, until it’s done.  Or, set the timer for 20 minutes and make it a game to see if she can “beat the clock.”


4. Together, take a minute to check the weather for the next day. Then have your child put out appropriate clothes for school, before she goes to bed. This tends to cut down on “what to wear” conflicts in the morning.


5. Limit breakfast choices to two main items that are nutritious, and you know your child likes to eat (such as waffles or cereal, for example.) Lay out dishes, glasses, and utensils the night before.


6. Let her have her own alarm clock, and set it to wake at the same time each school morning. You still might have to coax her a bit, but the alarm can do the initial work.


Setting up routines is often a challenge…but well worth the effort. Home and school routines develop the consistency and organization that young children need, and busy parents appreciate!


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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?