It’s that time of year that both parents and children alike can dread, the Christmas holidays are over and it’s time to get back to the old routine!
Over Christmas the normal school night routine goes out of the window with later bedtimes, irregular mealtimes and sweets and treats galore! After two weeks of this it can be difficult for all the family to get back to normality.
The key is to start slowly. If possible start to re establish the normal bedtime / school night routine a couple of nights before their first day back to school. Perhaps add some treats to make bedtime more fun such as a new toothbrush, duvet set or night clothes.
Communicate with your child. Explain what’s going to happen “when we get home from the shops we’re going to get a bath and get ready for bed”. By letting them know what is expected from them up front tantrums and tears can be avoided later.
Don’t be surprised if you have a few setbacks, adjusting to the new earlier bedtime will take a few nights. Expect a few “I can’t sleep” visits but try not to be drawn into delay tactics, “I’m not tired, I need a drink” etc.
If your kids have had to sleep in with their siblings over the Christmas break to make room for visitors there may be some separation anxiety. Be prepared for this and allow them to sleep in together at the weekend giving them something to look forward to.
Be as organised and prepared for the week ahead as possible with lunch boxes, homework, library books, sports gear, musical instruments etc, the list can be endless!
By getting yourself ready first in the morning you can guide your child through every step of the process ensuring that it goes more smoothly. Give reminders “time to do teeth” and reward good behaviours and organisation when you see it.
Avoid shouting and harsh treatment, you want your child to get out of the door on time but happy so that they can get through the school day and reach their academic potential.
It can be helpful to get back to a healthier diet after all the treats and getting out for some fresh air after school can help them sleep better too.
The new term can seem like a long stretch to children with lots of work and not much fun. Treat the new year as a fresh start and encourage them to set some goals they’d like to achieve. Break the term up and reward achievement with family trips out, giving them something to look forward to throughout January.
It’s not fun to have to abandon the magic of the Christmas holidays and get back to the real world but it is good to get get back into a routine as smoothly and as painlessly as possible, good luck!