Three cheers for September when the kids go back to school! “Hip hip” get jobs done in the house; “hip hip” get them to bed early; “hip hip” recovery time for parents!
Joking aside, it’s a good opportunity for parents to think about what they want to achieve or change in their family and build on the routine that school imposes. Consider improving your child’s bedtime routine, eating healthier lunchbox snacks, getting homework done more efficiently, doing more chores in the house, being more cooperative, setting better limits around screen time or whatever is important or would make the biggest difference for a happier family life.
How do routines help? They are the smart parents secret to calmer, happier parenting. Once a habit is created it’s much easier for a child to follow it with maximum cooperation, in part because the parent is not going on at them about it.
Childrens’ language is play, so creating a routine initially through play for younger children is key. For older children, it’s more about being playful in the spirit of setting the routine rather than being too strict. Children follow parents willingly when they are lead from connection. Focusing on building daily, quality connection time with your child will support any changes you want to make and your child’s emotional development. It works on spouses too!
By Laura Newman MSc