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Parents: Routines Equal Success for Your Kids

Now is the time to set expectations and schedules to keep your kids on track

I survived the first week of school. I got my kindergartner on the bus while holding my emotions together (until the bus pulled away of course) and anxiously awaited his safe return each day.  

My son had a fantastic introduction to school—from the bus, to the lunchroom, meeting his classmates and teacher, to recess—he loved it all. But it was a big adjustment after our relatively laid-back summer schedule. In fact, he cracked me up when he got off of the school bus Friday, by stating, “I’m glad it’s Labor Day weekend, I really need a .”

But now that big, unofficial end of summer, holiday weekend has passed. It’s time to get into routines. Homework, projects, sports and other activities need to be juggled. And believe it or not, your kids like patterns. They like schedules, and actually thrive when their days are predictable.

For my son, I know after returning from a long day in the classroom, he needs some time to unwind and relax before he can jump into homework. So after he gets off the bus, he has a snack, rests or plays for a bit. Only then could he have success with homework. Then he eats dinner, has some time to play, finally showers and goes to bed.

Fortunately at his age, his soccer and extracurricular activities are confined to the weekends. And given how exhausted he was after a full week at school, I’m glad I haven’t overbooked his social calendar just yet.

When your child does settle in to do his homework, it’s important to create a proper environment. They should do homework in a similar way they do classroom work, in a quiet, well-lit room, and at a desk or table. It’s also important that the child isn’t too hungry or tired because that causes the child to be frustrated more easily. The surroundings are critical to homework without tears.

There are also plenty of resources available to assist you and your child with homework. Between the library and the online resources mentioned in , it’s important to know what services are readily available to your child to make sure projects and homework are stress free.

It’s important to get the school year off to a good start. Establishing patterns and expectations now, will keep you kids on track for the whole school year.

Tell us what your child's daily routine is like. Do your kids jump right into homework when they get home or do they need some time to relax?

Mike Fisher September 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I do think it's important for children to have structure, but I also think there's a line between having enough structure and having too much of it. You're only a kid once and kids should be allowed to be kids as much as possible while they still can. Burning kids out on structure can cause them to grow up too fast, then definitely need time to play or just have a day or two where they can just do whatever they want every now and then or a surprise trip somewhere. I think a lot of today's kids are being burnt out on structure, so there should be a line there. Too little structure is just as bad as too much. They just need to be prepared for adulthood, but not be forced into it too early. Being a child without having much responsibility and having lots of time to just have fun is a one time experience. You never get to be a kid again, so I do think kids should be allowed to be kids as much as possible, but of course, not at the expense of not doing homework or having minimal responsibilities like taking out the garbage, cleaning their room, sports or whatever it is they like to do. Being a kid should be fun because being an adult is no fun at all, well, most of the time anyway.
Jeanne September 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I think kids do need structure also but I am refering to a regular bedtime, a solid rule of until your homework is done you can't do (then you list the things), If you start an activity/club you have to finish it but if you don't want to do it anymore you don't have to sign up again. As the children get older and get into curfews imo I think the time should depend on the event and the child. Grades and if they did their best should depend on extras they get as a reward. This is some of the structure we used to raise our son and he isn't perfect but he is a great person. He has been successful at many things including honor roll each semester, leadership positions, Eagle Scout, had a job for 5 years, etc... Nobody is perfect but I agree a structure does go a long way to help. Another thing is to have an open mind if your child wants to talk to you about things. When our son was younger we had a 15min rule were Mom or Dad were given 15min to get over the subject matter so we could have an open coversation. When it got out we actually had other parents asking us to talk to their kids because they couldn't handle talking about certain subjects with their kids.
Stacey Schantz September 05, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Jeanne, love your 15 min rule idea... that seems like a great way to handle tough conversations!!!
Tim September 05, 2012 at 02:08 PM
The thing is, it's much, much easier to go too strict initially then scale back then the other way around. Once "the horses are out of the barn" it's much tougher to bring them all back.
Stacey Schantz September 05, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I agree with you, Tim, 100%!!!

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