School Days - Top 10 Tips For Establishing A Good RoutineWritten by Lindsay Small
Teachers know that children thrive in an environment with routines, boundaries and rules. Unfortunately, parents often forget it! And yet by establishing good routines and encouraging children to help you maintain them, you have an opportunity to set a pattern and a discipline that will stay with your children for rest of their lives. You will make school days easier and far less stressful, reduce chances of starting your day late or dragging on forever with homework, put an end to nagging and shouting, and have happier, more relaxed kids.
Here are 10 tips for establishing a solid, school day routine.
1. Lay breakfast table night before
Put everything out apart from perishables. If you keep all your breakfast things in one cupboard or one area of kitchen this routine will be easier to establish, and older children can take it in turns to do it.
2. Put out your clothes night before
Lay out a complete set of clothes for each child, checking them as you do it. Older children should do this themselves - you can double check when you say goodnight. Then if something is missing (or shoes need polishing) you have time to put it right. Lay your own clothes out too!
3. Brush teeth at kitchen sink
Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste for each child in kitchen and brush teeth at kitchen sink immediately after breakfast. It may not be perfect for house-proud, but if you send your child out of your sight to do a chore in morning, you lose control. If you lose control, he may start dawdling.
4. Set up base camp
Establish a "base camp" where children keep all their school things. You will need room for kit bags, satchels, swimming bags, sports equipment, ballet bags, library books and whatever else kids need! Provide at least one hook per vhild for their coats (in our house kids must hang coats up as soon as they take them off) and a basket or box for school shoes (in our house kids must put shoes in box as soon as they take them off too - sometimes they do!) Another basket or box for each child can be used as a place to put anything that needs to go to school - gloves, letters to teachers, music, library books etc. Everything is in its place and ready to go out door first thing in morning without any fuss.
5. Make a list
Fill out a schedule of what is needed at school on each day and pin it up at "base camp". Check each morning before you walk out door that you have appropriate kit. You will find a school week planner to print here: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/school_week_planner.htm
Got To, Get To – Change The Way Your Family ThinksWritten by Lindsay Small
I recently heard a story that has literally changed way that I, and my family, think about life. The story is as follows:
There was once a high-powered woman in her 30s who ran her own company and was massively successful in business. Yet every single day, at 10am, she visited her elderly mother, who was in an old peoples’ home. When asked if she could attend meetings at that time, she would reply, “I’m sorry, I’ve got to visit my mother”. She sometimes resented commitment and was occasionally ridiculed, but nevertheless answered, “No, I’m sorry, I’ve got to visit my mother.”
One day her mother died. Soon afterwards she was asked if she could make a meeting at 10am following day. She started to reply, “No, I’m sorry, I’ve got to visit my mother”, but of course quickly realised that this was no longer case. Sadly, she realised that for many years she had been saying, “I’ve got to visit my mother” when what she should have instead been saying was, “I get to visit my mother”. She would never "get to" visit her mother again.
So how does story relate to other situations? I have been surprised by how many times story has seemed appropriate since I heard it, just a few weeks ago. It applies to so many different aspects of family and working life, from large to mundane. For example, I first told my son story when he was complaining about some extra French classes he was having at weekends (“I can’t believe I’ve got to go to French tutor”). I explained that he is lucky to "get to" have French classes: lucky that we care enough to notice he needs them, and lucky that we can afford to pay for them.