What’s Routine Got to do With It? Hopefully, Everything!

I’m not sure how many days your kids have been in school, but my son has only been back to school for three days now. He is in Kindergarten and I have to say that I am impressed with his teacher as she made a point to call me after school on day #1 to let me know that my son had an amazing first day. (Due to the after-school craziness she didn’t feel like she had time to talk to me when I picked him up, so she made a follow-up call; still impressive as I wasn’t expecting that.)

However, yesterday was day #3 and she called me to let me know that my son had been in a “frisky” mood all day. I love the terminology, don’t you? She was very nice and assured me that the first week is always rough and the kids are all tired, but she knew that my husband and I would want to know about his behavior. He hadn’t done anything “bad” but he was just being silly and not paying attention/following directions, which happens when he is tired.

I understand that the first week is always rough, but seriously…I get called on day #3 of school in kindergarten. After the phone call and a serious talk with our son, my husband and I started re-evaluating our child’s back-to-school routine. After all, it’s not acceptable for him to be acting “frisky” during the school day and my husband and I know that there has to be something that we can do at home to help him make better choices at school.

Start a home behavior chart. My son’s teacher is going to start reporting the kids’ daily behaviors at the first of September, once the kids have been in school a couple of weeks and know the school routine well. However, my husband and I have decided that in order to encourage our son to make better choices at school, we are going to start a behavior chart at home – based on his school behavior.

For example, I am going to make a calendar on the computer for every month. When my son comes home from school and has had a good day without any instances, he will be allowed to put a sticker on the calendar for that particular day. When he receives five stickers, we will reward him in some way. I think the fact that the chart will be hanging up on the wall for him to see will also encourage him because it will serve as a visual reminder for how many stickers he has received – which should help him think about his actions while he is at school too.

Set an earlier bedtime. I have always stuck to an 8 p.m. bedtime for my son during the school year. However, the night before last, he was in bed by 7:30 p.m., so I was confused about how he could be tired after going to bed early but based on the teacher’s account of his actions that day, I know he was tired. Therefore, my husband and I put him to bed at 6:30 p.m. last night to see if the extra hour of sleep will help. I can’t imagine that it won’t as he went right to sleep!

Pack more nutritious foods in his lunch. I had already decided to pack my son’s lunch for school this year as it is so much cheaper to do so. However, in the last few weeks I have been reading a lot about clean eating and how the chemicals found in/on the foods that we eat do affect all of us, but especially kids. So, I have decided that I am going to start packing more nutritious foods in his lunch. He will start to see more fruits, veggies and homemade sandwiches in his lunchbox. While it may not be as “fun” as the Lunchables, Kool-Aid packet and Chocolate Chip cookies are, it will at least provide him the nutrition he needs to stay focused and alert for the rest of the day.

I know that kids will be kids and they all get in trouble from time to time, but I thought it was a little crazy that my son was in trouble on the third day of school. While he is responsible for his actions, I do feel like changing a few things in his routine at home will help with this. What are your thoughts? How to do you help your kids make it through the school day?

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