Most private schools in the Philippines opened last June 8. And it’s going to be a big change for my son. He’s in first grade and that means he’ll be in school for most parts of the day.
When a big change is expected, the first thing I usually do to prepare my son is have visuals. I did the usual “Countdown to School” activity where the dates were marked X each and every day.
Another thing I did was prepare him for the routines. There are some kids who can adapt to change with a snap of the finger. But not my kid. He needs to know beforehand what’s going to happen.
I believe routines are important even for school-aged children. Six-year-olds can be overwhelmed by their new school, new classmates, new subjects, and changing teachers for every subject. Routines at home let them have some kind of structure in an otherwise unpredictable school environment during the first few weeks.
If you’re still skeptical about routines, Dr. Laura Markham author of the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and founding editor of AhaParenting.com lists the following benefits of establishing routines:
1. Routines eliminate power struggles.
2. Routines help kids cooperate.
3. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities.
4. Kids learn the concept of “looking forward” to things they enjoy.
5. Regular routines help kids get on a schedule
6. Routines help parents build in those precious connection moments.
7. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations.
For more information on the benefits of routines, please check out the AHA Parenting website.
Sure, kids are resilient – that should never be underestimated. Eventually they’ll adapt to the hustle and bustle of school but I believe they need some kind of an anchor during the first few weeks of school. And that’s what I hope my routines and the accompanying visual schedules will do.
By the way, these schedules aren’t fixed – they will go through a change or two as I deem fit. And that’s what you should think about too. Schedules should never be oppressive and not dictate what should happen now and then next. It’s there to provide structure and order and should be mostly based on your child’s temperament and inner rhythm. So listen, observe and trust your mom instincts.
If you think the current schedule isn’t working, then maybe it’s time to try another one. Maybe allot a longer amount of time for rest or eating. Maybe divide the prescribed one hour of studies into three 20-minute blocks with rest periods in between. It all boils down to how much you know your kid. Is he just trying to test limits or maybe he is indeed tired and needs more time for rest after school? The free printable has a blank clock face so you can plot your own time. You may also cut out each activity and rearrange it according to the schedule you see fit for your child. I hope you find this free Printables by Jan helpful!
Click here to download the Daily-Routines-2015.