Spring Break is officially over in this house as Michael returns to school, and I return to my regular work routine. Last week went relatively well with some minor ups and downs, with more downs than ups by the end of the week. This, of course, was due to the break almost being over and change being imminent, as well as Michael becoming increasingly tired as the week wore on. He was up early every day in anticipation of his day, but was still going to bed his usual time between 9:00-9:30 pm. Still, as I see each year, I know what I need to fine tune for future long breaks (can anyone say Easter Break in a month) 🙂 when he is home with me for an extended period so both of us have an easier and more fun time. Here then, are the 5 Things I think are great to do to get back into routine after Spring Break, and the 5 Things Not to Do To Get Back Into Routine:
5 Things to Do To Get Back Into Routine:
- Do Go To Bed Early If You Can: This one goes for parents AND their kids. It’s a tough one, as school lunches, clothes need to be prepped and ready, but the more rested the family is, the better everyone will fare.
- Talk About The School Day in Advance: This means what will be happening work and social-wise. If kids have pictos or a visual schedule, start looking at it with them early in the week if not sooner to better prepare for school re-integration
- Commiserate With Them About Challenge And Share Your Own: Now, this does not mean to stress them out about your own back to work schedule or worry them about theirs. It means to simply affirm that it is normal to be tired and nervous, but they have their strategies and they will be fine.
- Remind Them They Will See Friends or Promise After School Reward: For those exceptional kids who are social, remind them that they will see the friends they did not see over the break. For the others, tell them there will be a treat for good listening after school.
- Do a written or picture schedule of their whole day including at home: For many kids the unknown is frightening. This way they will see what to expect.
5 Things NOT To Do To Get Back Into Routine:
- Push Kids About Bedtime: If they are REALLY not tired, let them stay up quietly in their room reading a book, listening to soft music or talking to you or another adult. Many kids harbor a lot of fears about the future, especially those who are exceptional and who have autism. Let them share their feelings openly and honestly.
- Talk About School Too Many Days In Advance: As an Exceptional Mom, I have made the mistake of preparing Michael TOO MUCH in advance for change which ironically causes more tension and stress for both of us. Unless your child needs three or more days to prepare for school, let them chill out till a day or two before you remind them of the upcoming change.
- Let Them Sleep In First Morning Back: BAD idea. I tired this once as Michael had slept terribly. All it did was make his first day back more stressful for both of us in the morning rush, and he was still tired that evening. As hard as it is, get yourself and your child/dren moving quickly and early in am so that they and you can start your morning on time.
- Don’t Yell At Them Even If You Are Losing Your Mind: This is a good rule of thumb all the time, but especially when pressure is on, if Mom and Dad are calm, children will slowly gravitate to that even if they are initially yelling and not listening.
- Pack Lunch and School Bag In the Morning: Try and do it all the night before. This will help everyone if they are moving slower in the am. I know I move slower when back form holiday, so don’t expect my child with special needs who has sequencing issues to have an easier time.
Exceptional Parents, what are some of your do’s and don’ts for getting back into school and work routine for your family? Remember, you will have moments you are screaming and pulling your hair out. Try and do these on the inside. If you fail, admit it, learn, and move on. Our kids will gravitate to our realness if we speak to them calmly about our own errors and what we have learned about ourselves and how we handle stress. Also, if you see them rockin’ it on their first day, second day or week back, tell them. Praise goes a long way with all of us. Our kids can feel our love and pride in their accomplishments. This will also help them see the light at the end of their first week back in routine; the weekend! Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism is opening my eyes up to living life in a whole and balanced way. I am passionate about helping other parents of exceptional children thrive as individuals and in their relationships with their children. For more information on my coaching packages, or for a free 30 min consultation session, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.