By Renee Koenig, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Family Living Educator
A new school year means many families will get back into a routine of school, homework, sports, and earlier bed times. Research shows that family routines support children and their emotional development. When children have good emotional health they cooperate more and perform better in school.
Children are less likely to get frustrated and argue when they have a routine to follow. Parents of younger children find it helpful to create a morning routine chart with pictures and drawings that remind children what tasks need to be completed. Bedtime routines should be consistent and start around the same time each night and go in the same order (e.g. bath, pajamas, brush teeth, read book). Morning and bedtime routines can also help children learn independence and social skills. Children can help make lunches, pack backpacks, and pick out clothes.
Parents or family caregivers should include in their routines time for one-on-one connection with each child. Ending the day with one-on-one time can really make a difference. Children need time to talk about any fears or ask questions about the upcoming school day. Making time for each child individually is a good investment in the parents’ relationship with their child and their child’s emotional health. It helps children feel more comfortable talking to parents about worries and concerns and can help reduce their anxiety and get a good night’s rest.
For communication tips for parents: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/communication-parents.aspx