How do I help set up a good home routine to support what my child does in school every day?
It has been a busy start for many families! Now that we have been in school for a few weeks, it’s a good time for you to check in with what’s working, and what you may need to restructure in your home to make for a better routine for your family. Routines are critical for students, and they need structures in place at home, too, to be ready for the demands of school each day.
Here are a few routines to consider:
• A place for practice: Have a designated place for home learning. Having a place for your children to put their backpacks every day after school and a place they can work on schoolwork alleviates stress and emphasizes expectations. In addition, have a designated time for children to work on their homework, and, depending upon their age, when you will sit down and review it with them. Consistent expectations are critical to success. If your children are completing their work at a daycare center or with others, consider making it a point to review it before they go to bed. It is so important that you know what is going on in school and what your children know and with what subjects they’re struggling. As I have said before, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. When you know what they are working on in school, you can make a point to extend the learning everywhere you go, be it pointing out the types of clouds you see in the sky, reading words on signs, using opportunities for math through the use of money and weight of produce at the grocery store, or sharing the role of government within our community or at the national level.
• Limit TV and computer time: Agree and follow through on your personal family policy around technology. Will they be able to watch one show after school or before bedtime? Will they get thirty minutes of monitored computer time after homework is completed? Make a plan that works for you and follow through on it.
• Have chores and must-dos: Do you have a setup bedtime routine that allows your child to wind down at night and a morning routine that provides for a stress-free start to the day? Routines that are predictable help children increase their independence because they know what is expected of them. It makes things easier on their parents too. Children should know what they need to do during their nighttime routine, whether it’s helping with the clean up that needs to be done, preparing their backpack for the next day, helping pack lunches, or taking out the garbage. Children also need to know what to do in the mornings so they can be prepared and the atmosphere can stay calm for everyone. A chore chart or list may be a good way to increase this independence and prepare them for school. A check-off list with pictures or words they know will help everyone make sure their responsibilities are completed. This is incredibly important, as it creates security and increases self-esteem when children are able to feel good about their abilities to accomplish tasks.
I hope your year is off to a good start. If it isn’t, try to identify what is going wrong and what you can do to fix it. Setting up routines now will help make for a successful year. Fall conferences are coming up at the end of October and this opportunity will be great to get to know your child’s teacher better, see where your child falls in relation to where he/she needs to be, and set goals for the year. Creating expectations and routines at home will free up time to work on these specific academic goals.
Jessica Conte is a Nationally Board Certified teacher, has eight years of teaching experience in Monroe, and is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at Seattle University.