We’ve all been there. Holidays. Whether you went away on an epic family holiday touring the world, two weeks lazing on a beach, or simply had a staycation with too much TV and not enough hours outside, the time will come when you have to get your kids ready to go back to school. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as putting them to bed early the night before school and waking them up on time for their first day back. Oh no! Remember, parenting is not practical, or straight forward, and they are not robots. So here is the procedure that works for me every time, and how to get back into a routine for school.
I am a huge fan of routine, and so are my kids. I’m not the most organised of mums, and I’m certainly not a very organised housewife. However, I do believe that my kids need routine, and so do I. Their routine is good for me.
School Time Routine vs Holiday Routine
During the week and term time, I like to stick to our regimented routine. However, during the school holidays, we all let the usual routine slide a little. Instead, we adopt a more relaxed routine; we swap early mornings and a strict bedtime for a lie-in, and an evening movie; we go from having breakfast as soon they wake up followed by getting dressed to a biscuit in and then a late breakfast in our PJs and then getting dressed for the day. It works for us, and we all enjoy a more relaxed routine of sorts.
Getting Back Into A Routine For School Requires Planning Ahead!
When it’s time to get them ready for school I plan ahead. With military-like precision! My main focus here is to get their sleeping pattern back on track. Tired kids = grumpy kids. Grumpy kids = a tired mommy. Everyone loses! You can’t have that during the school term or we’re all just going to be short-tempered and miserable!
Here is the exact procedure I use for getting my kids back into the school routine!
For the sake of this example, let’s assume that they will start their new school term on a Tuesday, after a two week holiday such as after Christmas break, or even Easter.
Back To School Routine: Step 1
On Saturday night before they are due back to school on a Tuesday, I make sure that they go to bed by 08.30 pm, as opposed to the holiday bedtime of 09.00 pm. They may not be tired because they would have only woken up at around 08.30 am but it’s all about trying to get their sleeping pattern back on track.
Back To School Routine: Step 2
On Sunday morning I make sure they are awake and up by 07.30 am. My eldest has always been an early bird so this is usually fine for her, but my younger one enjoys her sleep so I usually have to wake her up to meet this 07.30 am!
Back To School Routine: Step 3
That day I try to make sure we go out and do something active and burns off any excess energy. Ideas for this are a trampoline park, a bike ride, or even just a long walk.
Back To School Routine: Step 4
That evening it’s bath by 06.00 pm (back to normal school week bathtime routine), and then in bed by 08.00 pm with the option to read for half an hour, max! Lights off at 08.30 pm.
Back To School Routine: Step 5
Monday morning they need to be awake by 07.00 am. We might have a lazy morning, but then I usually spend the day making sure their uniforms are all ready, any last-minute homework is done, and their school bags are ready for the next day. This might be the only day that terms I achieve this, but I do it.
Back To School Routine: Step 6
By Monday evening their whole typical school term routine is back on track. Dinner by 05.30 pm, bath by 06.00 pm, and then TV until 07.30 pm when they need to go to bed. They can read until 08.00 pm.
I’m not going to lie and say there isn’t some whining and arguing about how early they are ‘forced’ to go to bed, and what a terrible mother I am. But I promise you, within minutes they are asleep. Despite their protests, they both like the familiarity of their routine. I’m also lucky that they both love school too so they look forward to going back to see their friends and teachers.
Back To School Anxiety
Occasionally, depending on the length of the holiday my eldest can struggle with a little back to school anxiety. This normally manifests itself in a sore-tummy the night before they go back to school. On the morning of their first day back she will then typically have some made-up wardrobe crises or an argument with me about her hair or something else. I never really know what she’s going to kick off about, but when it happens, I try to remember what it’s really about.
My only advice here is to stay calm, not argue back, and keep your voice at the same level. I’m never very good at pandering to paddies, but I do try to carry on as normal and let her just blow herself out. I understand why she does it. By the time we actually arrive at the school gate she’s completely forgotten what happened earlier that morning and runs off to catch up with her friends.
Helping her manage her anxiety is another reason why I do believe that a good routine is good for them and for me. If we can be organised, prepared and well-rested, then any upsets, or anxiety tantrums won’t make everyone late.
I hope you found this post helpful. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m an advocate of the importance of a family routine. If you did enjoy it, please share this post with your family and friends. If you have any tips or advice for how you get your kids back into a routine for school please drop them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading xx