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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!