Have you seen it yet? It’s there, popping up when you’re trying to watch the evening news or in the background while you pour your morning coffee. Back-To-School commercials are upon us. That can only mean one thing…school is close, but not tooo close (they always start these ads too early!)
With the countdown on, it’s a great time to start developing healthy routines and habits with your children. Especially elementary-aged kiddos! The great thing about the school year is the structure it provides for young minds. As adults, we may be bored by the predictability of our routine lives, but children have been proven to thrive on routine. It assures they are eating, sleeping, and socializing regularly, which are three keys to school success!
Children are impressionable. We may have even seen our own kids picking up on some of our own habits (the good and bad). So, it only makes sense to create these positive behaviors and habits while they’re so eager to learn and grow! With everything we know about the importance of early childhood educational objectives, here are a few things you should focus on building routines around to ensure your child has a leg up on the school year and in life!
1. Reading: Just because kids aren’t in school doesn’t mean their brains can’t stay active. It’s so important to create stimulation and challenge your child’s imagination throughout the year. Reading from an early age can give children a leg up when it comes to developing strong verbal and written skills, which goes on to predict a great deal of future success!
Bonus tip: Weekly trips to the local library are a great, free, summer activity for all ages. Cool down between the shelves and let your little ones explore!
2. Healthy Snacking: The temptation to snack on junk food while the kids are home is very real. However, healthy snacking is so important for physical and mental health! Help your child get in the habit of reaching for some nutritious options versus sugary snacks with no health benefits. They’ll thank you later for helping them form these habits early.
3&4. Bedtime and Wake-up Time: Being out of school often means children are able to sleep in and ditch their early morning scramble to catch the bus. But maintaining a regular bedtime is going to keep your child’s internal clock in check and ensure that they get the amount of sleep they need to stay healthy. Just as important is making sure your child doesn’t sleep the day away. Sticking to a “lights on” rule every morning might not be their favorite, but it’s to their benefit. Spending the day asleep and the night awake is harmful to a child’s cognitive development, and it’ll make getting into the school-year routine that much harder. Children need structure, and maintaining the same habits throughout the year will mean they will always stay on track!
5. Cleaning Up: It’s great that summer can allow children to play all day. After all, play time is just as important in a child’s life as the rest of their schooling. However, it’s important that kids continue to be held accountable for picking up their toys, making their beds, and cleaning up after themselves. If we let these rules slide during the summer how can we expect children to do this the rest of the year? Fostering that appreciation for their home and their items will help your child understand the value of respect.
The main takeaway? Children are SMART, and they are in a very formative time in their lives. It’s important to give them the proper tools that will set them up to be kind, intelligent, and self-sufficient young adults!