Daily Routines that Stick Morning to Night
Pediatric Therapy is all about movement! In order for our kiddos to perform at their best (and be motivated to do so), a little structure can do wonders for energetic movement. Daily routines will establish a predictable order in life often full of constant changes. With school back on the rise, our Arizona weather always on the shift, and sliding into a new year, everyone can take comfort in daily routines that get the whole family back into the groove.
Rise and Shine, Sleepy Head
For some kids (parents included), mornings make us want to call it a day before we even get out the door. Knowing your child is the golden key for a successful routine. Since the weather has been chilly, let’s say your child is struggling to wiggle their way out of a cozy, warm bed. As their ever-watchful parent, you already know a few tactics in helping them “raise from the bed.” Do they respond better to your voice? Setting an alarm on the other side of the room? Turning on the light? Maybe it is the whole lot. Either way, understanding your child’s morning behaviors tells you which moves to make for an easier morning.
If breaking up with the bed is a serious endeavor in the morning, evaluate if your child is getting enough sleep. Hitting the hay an hour earlier each night may just do the trick to ease morning discomfort. Most school-aged children require about 9 – 12 hours of sleep, which is more than the recommended amount for adults (8 – 10 hours, in case you were wondering!). Earlier bedtimes are most effective when your child has the same bedtime every night. Consistent routines thrive with consistent sleep.
“Be Prepared!” – Scar from The Lion King
Mornings are particularly stressful because we often need to reach a deadline. School and work are calling and will start with or without you. Planning ahead is your best defense to peace of mind. For your child, you can lay out clothes, breakfast, and even lunch the day before. The fewer decisions to make in the morning the better. Another idea to try is to create a chart of morning tasks to complete before heading out into the big world. Post it somewhere your child will be sure to see. If they are younger, don’t be afraid to show off your art skills and draw your own pictures!
Pro Tip: Play upbeat music in the house. Make morning more fun!
Homework. There I Said It
Even though kids need opportunities to play and move around after school, homework needs a chance to shine at some point too. Setting expectations and goals for your child holds them responsible for completing this important task. Every child is different in how they respond to conquering the paper and pen. Some may need breaks while others can chug straight through. Even still, some will do better in their room while others may need to sit in the kitchen away from distractions. You get the idea.
No matter the method, keep it consistent in starting in the same place, without distractions, and at the same time. Allow there to be an end in sight, especially if homework takes a while. What activity can your child look forward to when they reach the finish line?
In the final hour before bed, winding down is our favorite routine to practice, especially after a long day. Low noises and dimmed lights in a room around 65 degrees Fahrenheit will settle your child down. Allow them to engage in quiet activities such as coloring, reading, taking a bath, or stretching. Keep screen time away from bedtime in the last thirty minutes to an hour. Screens are known to disrupt sleep quality, which can even make waking up more challenging. These subtle discomforts can be a ripple effect throughout the entire day, so enforcing rules for both you and your kiddo will leave a big mark in your daily dance.
Daily Routines are the Best Routines
Whether you are reestablishing, continuing, or creating a daily routine, the change will stand out. In fact, routines are so beneficial that they can lower problematic sleep disturbances such as waking up in the middle of the night. The reality is that consistent routines can make challenging transitions inside and outside of the home much easier. By bringing order and predictability into the mix, daily routines allow the whole family to rock their day and decrease stress, which equals getting goals accomplished today.
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