Establishing Routines and Habits to Help Our Children Thrive
when we Ask Jesus to strengthen our Daily routines, the Dividends it pays Are invaluable.
By REbecca Little, Lower Elementary Principal
So, are your children off to a good start? We truly hope and pray that they are settling in and enjoying the freshness of a new school year. With a new school year comes the opportunity to establish new routines and habits or recommit to those that have served us well in the past.
Before too much time has passed, why not examine what areas may need improvement and what has worked well. Have a family meeting and give your children the opportunity to weigh in on some of the decisions.
Routines and Habits for a Successful School year
I would like to propose a few suggestions to consider as your family takes the time to discuss and agree upon routines and habits to keep the momentum going for a successful school year. Remember, children thrive best when there are clear boundaries and established routines.
Family Devotions - Decide the best time for a regular family devotion. Keep the Bible and devotion book at the kitchen table as a reminder to feast on His Word as a family.
Homework - Determine a time and place without distractions for homework to be completed. For the younger students, I suggest working on homework sooner rather than later after they arrive home from school, keeping in mind that it does need to be a time when a parent is available to help guide and train them in doing their best. For the older student, this is more challenging because of after school activities, but that doesn’t mean that a routine shouldn’t be established. Try setting a time when all homework should be completed and give them the responsibility of managing their time to finish by the specified time. Of course, this implies that consequences will be given if the homework is not completed by the agreed upon time.
Evening and Morning Routine - Establishing a regular bedtime and morning routine is very important. We all know that children need a good night’s rest and a protein rich breakfast to prepare them for a day of learning. The evening routine may include having the backpack packed and clothes ready for the next morning.
Reading - Find a great chapter book to read aloud at night before bed. Reading to your child not only offers quality time together, but it also reaps academic benefits, such as developing the habit of attention, building vocabulary, sparking imagination, and giving a model for reading with fluency and expression.
Chores - Every child should have at least a couple chores in the home. Chores can help to build a child’s confidence and give him or her more ownership and responsibility. For the younger ones, having them set the table is a chore that contributes to helping the family and teaches them the directionality of right and left. Vacuuming their rooms can build core strength and gives the exercise of crossing the mid-line, which strengthens the connections in the brain. Packing their own snack and lunch is a chore that can be done by all ages.
When you hold them accountable, come alongside to coach them, and give them encouragement in the process, you are teaching them the value of work and developing a work ethic and strong habits.
As a gentle reminder that we are to glorify God in all we do, write on your child’s bathroom mirror using an expo marker Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
All of this takes discipline and consistency, which is not easy. And yes, we will not do it perfectly. There will be times when life throws a curve ball and things get skewed.