The Importance of Routine When Returning to School

A lot of us are creatures of habit, both as children and as adults. Once we establish routines for ourselves, it is often hard to rival those patterns, especially when they work for efficiency, friendships, and maximizing our school or work day. Although summer can be a lot of fun because there is less structure, less routine, and later nights. However, returning to school in the early stages of the fall means resuming routines to help quell what appears to be an onslaught of higher levels of Anxiety for our children. Thus, when thinking about your children returning to school, start preparing them for routines prior to the beginning (e.g., last 10 days of summer), rather than waiting for heavier workloads. The school year tends to start slower as the teachers and students readjust to the need for structure. Therefore, to help your children feel more relaxed and more in control of the significant change from summer, start preparing them for what they can control.

Begin by re-establishing proper bedtimes, routine lunch and dinner times, and if they are not involved in any out of school activities (yet), create the routine of some form of activity around the same time that they will or would have activities in the fall. The more preparation you can engage in with them prior to or in the early stages of the school year, the less anxious they will likely be because they can control how they use their time. Once the structure of school begins throughout much of September have your children verbally express their routines in the order they feel will work best for them. Regardless of how old your children are, they will benefit from having an established healthy routine.

It will still be helpful to create some spontaneity in the latter parts of September and October, but by creating structure early, they will be more ready to take on the challenges that emerge with transitioning to school. It is easy to assume that most children will adjust, but some take far longer than others and thus need more of that direct attention paid to re-establishing specific habits. They are already going to start feeling emergent stress by October, why not prepare them to be more relaxed and be able to cope in healthier way? Do not wait for the stress and Anxiety to come their way, prevent it with routine so the negative effects are less.


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