Getting back into routines after a holiday for young children takes planning and thoughtful dialogue. This week’s Tuesday Tips is a brief sharing of strategies to help make your family’s return to scheduled routines a little easier.
Number 1: Bedtime
During the holiday, we tend to get off schedule of our bedtime and waking routines. That’s part of the fun of being on holiday. However, getting back into the bedtime routine isn’t always that much fun. A simple way to make this easier is to talk to your child about the clock and the concept of time. At about one hour before bedtime, show your child the time and tell them that in one hour, it’s bedtime. Make it fun by telling them that you will read a special story to them at that time. If your child is especially struggling and refusing to begin the nighttime routine, try taking them to the nearby store and letting them choose some new pajamas. If they chose them, they are more willing to be excited to put them on and get ready for bed. Lastly, consider taking your child outside to play after dinner – tire them out. If your child’s body is tired, they will be more likely to get into bed when you want them to.
Number 2: Meals and mealtime
Sometimes when we are on holiday, we eat more sweets and “junk food.” Again, it’s part of the fun of holiday. But now it’s time to return to healthy eating on a regular routine. Eating healthy foods will increase focus, energy, growth, and overall health. These will help to regulate bedtime and success with morning routines. Now is time to stay away from sweets in the mornings. Avoid candy, chocolate, or sweet pastries in the morning. Instead, consider a cooked egg, some warm noodles, warm cereal or even some yogurt with fruit.
Number 3: Behavior expectations
Perhaps over the holiday, everyone in the family was able to be a little more playful and laxer with respect. Perhaps the children played with cousins, grandparents, parents, and siblings in games, watching movies, or just some fun family silly time. That was fine for the holiday, but now you may be having some challenges returning to the respectful, rule following home needed for everyone to get out of the house on time and to fulfill responsibilities of homework or lessons after school. Young children need time to adjust, and they may need an explanation of why things are different now. Take the time to explain the difference. We are the adults, we get it. But little ones can often be confused by the changes of parental expectations in this area of post-holiday changes. I encourage you sit with your child during a quiet moment at home and explain your expectations for getting back into the school routine and how that looks for behaving during the day (at home and school).
Number 4: Returning to routines
Young children thrive when they have routines. We all do! During the holiday, we tend to be much more spontaneous. Our comings and goings from home, our late nights out, when and where we visit and eat, etc., all are a little out of routine. If your child is struggling with getting back into routine, you might want to display a chart with your family’s routine as it looks after holiday. For young children, they will understand picture schedules with simple wording. It would even be best if your child helped you make the poster to display in the home. The sooner you can help your child understand what the routine is and that you are all following it once again, the better.
Number 5: Looking ahead
It’s important for young children to see a calendar and understand the concept of the passing of days and weeks and even months. Use a calendar to show them where we are in the New Year. Let them count how many days are left in the month. And show them that another holiday will come again. Getting back into school routine isn’t permanent, as we will always have another opportunity to have family fun during another holiday soon. Explain to them that everyone is in it together and working hard, behaving well, returning to routines will make our non-holiday time pass quickly and happily for all!
Remember, we at Concordia International School Shanghai see your child as a gift from God. We look forward to sharing your parenting journey and helping support you and your wonderful gift(s) following holiday time and onwards. Happy Lantern Festival Day and may your upcoming Spring be full of love and happiness!