Routines and Schedules—Getting Back into the Swing-of-Things

Friday, September 7, 2018 - 9:45am
Tami L. Johnson

Just about every school across the map has started back up again and kids are strapping on backpacks filled with notes and books and things to sign. Schedules are back in swing and parents are either feeling anxious about the impending school year ahead or relieved it’s finally here!

Implementing back-to-school routines, as a consistent effort in your home, is vital to a child’s stability and security.  We learn that structure helps kids feel safe.

Here are some tips to help your family ease back into the school time routines:

Morning and Nightly Habits

Beginning with the last week of summer, try to start helping your younger children to get to bed a little sooner.  Even a half hour will help.  The National Sleep Foundation suggests:

  • Kids between ages of 3-5 need 10-13 hours of sleep at night
  • Kids from 6-13 need 9-11 hours of rest at night
  • Teens ages 14 and older should get 8-10 hours each night


Of course, it’s always very helpful if there is a place in your home where you can place electronic devices for the night.  This will cause less distraction and we know that too much screen time right before bed isn’t good on our eyes.

Safety Rules

Is your child walking to school?  Riding a bus?  Carpooling?  Remind them to be mindful of the crossing guard and the rules as they use the cross walk. If no crossing guard is near, be sure you’re going over the rules of watching both ways for cars before crossing the street.  Reinforce traffic safety rules especially if your child rides a bike. Also, take time to look over the safest route your child can go if they are walking to school.

Coming home

One of the most crucial times as a parent is at the crossroads.  If at all possible, try to be home when your children go off to school in the morning and when they return home in the afternoon.  These times are important especially if your child needs to talk to you right then about something that happened at school that day.  Establish specific rules when they come home such as:

  • Set aside a certain time when they should come home from school
  • If you’re unable to be there when they arrive at home, make sure someone is there for them or they can go to a trusted neighbor (if you have younger children)
  • If there is an emergency—do your children know what to do?

Homework Zone/Rules

Is there a designated place to do homework in your home?  In the kitchen, their desk in a room or in the family room?  Make homework an important part of your child’s day; and allow them the opportunity to choose when they want to do their homework.  Then, follow up with them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, “Children need a consistent workspace in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.”

If you have several children the older ones can always help with the younger ones especially with reading and math. 

Dinnertime is Important

Schedules can get very busy in the school year and everyone has somewhere to be.  Dinner time can be a wonderful time in the day to finally sit down and catch up with each other about how the day’s events have gone.  Talk about the good things in the day or what was challenging.  Studies have shown that if families eat together during the week it can improve the lives of their children in school and their personal life.