A new normal has begun for your child. A new class, new friends, new teachers and a new routine. It can initially feel overwhelming for you and for your child. We want to acknowledge that these first few weeks can be hard and want to offer some support by sharing a few things that we have found helpful over the years.
Establish a solid bedtime and morning routine.
Clear and known expectations makes life easier for all. While you as a parent may have a clear idea about what needs to be achieved before you are ready to leave for the day or get into bed, your child may not. Your child may respond beautifully to some verbal prompts – especially if they are given some time ahead to mentally prepare. If they need some more support than this, try a visual chart that maps the process in picture form. Children think in pictures and this tool can be very helpful to take the potential confrontation out of the directions being given. Following a chart rather than engaging in a verbal battle with a parent helps some children establish a new routine. Verbally walk through what you are doing to be prepared for the next day or the next thing. Your child will begin to pick up on your mental process and be able to emulate that in time. Say aloud “I need my shoes ready by the door, I have my clothes ready for the morning etc..” Any processes you can make habit and not a last minute crisis to fix makes for a peaceful morning!
Look at where meltdowns, concerns or stresses occur during your day and problem solve them OUTSIDE of the moment.
When everyone is calm, talk about the moments that are hard to handle and come up with solutions together. “Wow… when we were rushing to get out of the house this morning that was difficult. Mummy was frustrated and you were crying. How could we make that better tomorrow?”
Be kind and patient with yourself and your child. Change is tiring.
You will be tired – and so is your child. All new routines and changes in life take about 6 weeks to get fully established and feel like normal.
Keep fun, down time things planned for after school and weekends.
These can be simple like family Candyland game night – or a make your own pizza night, ice cream and fun toppings night, or other event that you and your child will find enjoyable…
Take lots of deep breaths and add margin into your day,
Be kind to yourself and be patient with the process of establishing a new routine. It will get easier and this is going to be a great year full of many blessings, joys and successes. If you would like help finding a good visual schedule for your child we would be delighted to help you.