Young kids going to school for the first time or even elementary school age children going back after a summer vacation are facing big changes. A huge chunk of their waking hours are now being spent away from their family and away from their homes.
In the rush to get ready for school in the morning and the afterschool rush of snacks, homework, chores, dinner and some downtime, a lack of control on the part of the child and the single mom can quickly emerge. Don’t let school turn your home life into chaos. Establish a daily schedule for your elementary kids.
Print a daily calendar and mark down what each member of the family has to do in the appropriate time slots. This can help show you when the kids may be stressed, hungry or all battling for the bathroom or computer at the same time.
Study your calendar and decide if everything that you want to be done is being done. You want the kids bathed and in bed by a certain time. You want to find a slot where you can plan for the whole family to be together for an activity or just quality time. You want to identify any bottlenecks so that the kids have breakfast and leave the house on time with everything they need in the morning and have their homework completed by the time dinner is served. And, you want to have a clean house and a chance to relax so you can face the next day feeling refreshed.
It’s going to take a bit of juggling to be able to come up with a plan to get everything you want to get done actually completed. Once you are able to come up with a schedule, Make sure that the kids understand the schedule and why their involvement will be so important in its success. Post it in a place where everyone can see it, and don’t be afraid to have the kids refer to the schedule whenever they need to be reminded about what’s expected from them. It’s important that the kids take responsibility for the part of the schedule that involves them.
Your first attempt at the schedule may not work. After a week, if it’s not going well you may have to change it. Let the kids know why you are making these tweaks and why it’s so important that they follow the new routine.
Be consistent about the schedule, but at the same time show that when special circumstance prevent it from being followed you have to work together as a family to make sure that priorities are taken care of before you attend the older child’s volleyball game or the little musicians concert.