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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parental Leadership: Routines

How is your hectic fall schedule? We all have been back at it for about a month now. Many of you will say it is going well but you are still experiencing a few sticking points to that smooth running family you visualize! To fully settle into a routine takes time and effort. One month is not a time to judge your parenting or your kids. It might, however, be a time to check into what could be tweaked to achieve comfortability with your school schedule.

Here are a few ideas for those sticking points that show up for all of us in our parenting.  See if these can help you settle your family into the fall routine.

Morning Routine: Is someone in your household late, cranky or unable to pull it together in the morning and impacting everyone else? Or is it that the whole group is having their challenges? This set of steps will work with one person or the entire family.

Call a family meeting and:
  •  Get clear on the morning routine that is currently in place. Document that.
  • Where are the challenging or sticking points
  • What alternatives are available to solve these sticking points? (All ideas welcome here – encourage contribution
  • Democratically decide how to proceed. Get buy in from all. All may not agree, but buy in means you will adhere to the plan being decided on.
  • Document new plan and post it. Be clear with with expectations of new plan
                        Use uncomplicated, well defined easy steps
                        Consider a chart with pictures for youngsters

                      Calendar or time line for older kids
  • Everyone must agree to new plan for a period of two weeks at which time a family meeting will be called to review.

What if your family issues are homework based?
  • Provide, as parents, a structured schedule for homework each day of the week. What fits best into your family’s routine taking into account after school activities and evening routine? 
  •  Set expectations for starting, engaging in and completing homework.
  • Understand what parts of homework require parental support. Schedule time for that homework on parent calendar so time is focused, regular and uninterrupted.
  • Provide energy boosting snacks.

How about bedtime routines?  This can be the hardest to change. Lazy days of summer don’t require early and wide-awake mornings to be at your best…summer and school routines can be very different. However, if this transition isn’t made, the late nights and not getting to school on time can wreak havoc on the young learning mind.
  • Parents need to be clear on their expectations as it relates to bedtimes.

  • Decide what needs to be part of your families bedtime routine

  • Written expectations should be step by step with no ambiguity. Example:

Brush teeth, read one book together for younger kids

No electronic devices after 10pm. for older kids

  • Post the routine and talk about it in a family meeting

  • Monitor the routine and insist on it being carried out. A solid evening routine is the best way to endure a good morning!

Most of these suggestions involve discussion and follow through. Parents, make sure you are giving yourself the time to do these pieces well. With out a strong set up and strong follow through none of your routines will be adhered to. Parental Leadership is a valuable tool in making routines really work!

As always, reach out with your questions!              


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