It’s hard to believe summer is nearly over. With a change in routine, social anxiety for children and parents often occurs. Send your students off for better success this year by following these tips and tricks.

1)       Bedtime Rules

  1. Every young person (and adults too) need a routine for bedtime.
  2. Set a limit for technology use to allow the brain some time to calm and settle. Keep the cell phone out of the bedroom- even if the phone is not in use, it is still emitting electromagnetic radiation which can be a big causative factor for migraines, headaches and restless sleep.
  3. Follow evening hygiene- wash your face/hands or for children it may be bath/shower time. Create a playlist with one for song each person in the house. Let your children use that as a signal to get ready for bed.

iii.      Lay out tomorrow’s outfit. This helps younger children to decrease time spent arguing about the next day’s outfit and instills a practice of planning/preparing for other tasks as they get older.

  1. Set a time to lay down. Keep in mind, adults need 8-9 hours of sleep a night, but growing kids require more time to sleep. Figure out what time you have to wake up and calculate accordingly.
  2. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the following recommendations per age group are recommended.
  3. Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  4. Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  5. Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  6. Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  7. Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.


2)       Morning Routines

  1. A routine does not have to be overly rigid, but a progression of events that are similar every day.
  2. Wake up at the same time all week. Do not set separate times for school days versus weekends.
  3. Take care of hygiene- brush teeth, shower, get dressed, etc.
  4. Include breakfast in your routine. Children may have breakfast at school, but it’s still a good idea to encourage them to get some nourishment at home. It could be as small as a handful of nuts or as gourmet as eggs, breakfast meat, avocado and a small piece of fruit.

3)       Help to time manage Homework

  1. Does your child participate in extra-curricular activities? As a parent, help coach them on when to fit in their home work? Is it before their activity or after? Does this look the same every day? Have a homework calendar and help them to write in when to get their assignments done for each day of the week.
  2. Color coding is useful and helps children start to learn organization and prioritization. Help them to pencil in using different colors for different subjects on their agenda/ homework calendar, and backpack/classroom supplies.

4)       Set extracurricular activity expectations

  1. Perhaps this is not a sport, it could be music, play-dates with other children, grocery shopping with mom/dad- etc.
  2. Help the children to understand that there are other things to learn outside of school that can be fun and entertaining- these are extra things, where social skills and life skills are being learned. Put these on the homework calendar too so they can start to understand how to fit everything in a day’s time.
  3. Incorporate if they will need to help pack a snack, water or other supplies (sporting gear, dance shoes, extra pair of clothes etc). Children age 3+ can start to help pack for their own activities if coached along the way.

5)       Ways of connecting with your child that is not “how was your day”? Suggestions from Huffington Post.

  1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
  2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
  3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
  4. Where is the coolest place at the school?
  5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
  6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
  7. How did you help somebody today?
  8. How did somebody help you today?
  9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.
  10. When were you the happiest today?
  11. When were you bored today?
  12. Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?
  13. Tell me something good that happened today.
  14. What word did your teacher say most today?
  15. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
  16. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
  17. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
  18. Where do you play the most at recess?
  19. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
  20. What was your favorite part of lunch?
  21. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
  22. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?
  23. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
  24. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.

6)       Encourage responsibility with household tasks

  1. All children can help get the house tasks under way.
  2. Unpacking groceries helps with sorting items and knowing what is cold, what is frozen, what is room temperature/pantry items.
  3. Clearing the plates at dinner time.

iii.      Learning how to wash dishes.

  1. Helping sort laundry to be washed- teach them colors (whites, darks, lights).
  2. Making their own beds
  3. Tidying up toys

vii.      Sweeping/vacuuming

viii.      Older children (5+) can learn how to pack their lunch, cook meals and help with yard work.

  1. This helps kids enjoy their environment, learn to care for it and helps to decrease on screen time related tasks- giving their minds a break.

7)       Keep them nourished with good food sources

  1. Help your child to know what healthy food looks like. Everyone has different preferences. Some families are animal free households; some families are organic only homes for produce and veggies and others are focused on lifestyles such as paleo, Mediterranean, while others have no preference they just enjoy food.
  2. If you do not set standards for the types of food you eat, help your child to know what choices are available to promote awareness of the sustainability and nourishment they can get from foods.
  3. Coach your children on what serving sizes are and what makes a good snack.
  4. Are potato chips okay in moderation/limitation?
  5. What is a better choice for your snack?

iii.      What would you like to see more of on your breakfast plate?

  1. What’s your favorite lunch at school?
  2. What’s one food you wish you never had to eat again?
  3. By learning their food related answers you can start the process of helping them establish healthy guidelines and realize that food is something which sustains our body, not as a reward system.

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