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Revving up for the Rhythm of School

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

Transitions are hard for kids. They are hard for adults.

Maybe you have enjoyed the summer playing and having a more flexible schedule. Maybe you have struggled with a huge number of different schedules as you’ve managed different childcare situations over the summer. Either way when school starts, both you and your children will be making a shift to the rhythm dictated by school schedules. For most of us it is a familiar rhythm – but unpracticed.

What kinds of things change for your family?
Getting up at a different time?
Packing lunches?
Packing schoolbags/briefcases?
Picking out clothes?
After school sports?
Making time for homework?
Dinner time?

Those are a lot of changes that happen in a very short time and often creates a week or two of chaos until the family readjusts.

What can you do to make it better?
• Sit down as a family and make a list of the things that have to happen for each member of the family to get to work/school.

• Think about what things can be done the evening before. Even though it is a little more work at night, mornings go much more smoothly if there is less to accomplish. The evening list could include: packing lunches, packing school bags/briefcases, picking out clothes. It might even include setting out the breakfast dishes.

• Have each person draw or write their own evening check off list.

• Plan for some time for family connection in the evening (a short story, a song together, sharing what you are thankful for etc.)

• Plan for some short connection time in the morning. (It could be eating breakfast together, reading a short story, snuggling for a few minutes on the couch or even a ritual handshake that is your secret code for “I’ll be thinking of you.”) Connecting before going out into the world eases the transition for your children.
• For more on routines.

SAVE THE DATE! We are having a community gathering on Sept 26th at the Phinney Center. Details coming soon.

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