We have mentioned that our kids have been the unsung heroes of this time period. Their entire sense of normalcy has been tossed out. Things they have done day in and day out since early childhood have stopped. They can’t go play with friends. They can’t go to church. They can’t even play at playgrounds.
The good news for us as parents is that there is one main thing we can do to help them, especially as we head back into the school year. Kids thrive in routine; they feel secure when they know what to expect. Even though school has changed drastically – whether it’s in person masked up and socially distant, virtual learning or homeschool – it can begin to set up that routine. We as parents can utilize this fresh beginning to the school year to look at and implement a consistent schedule again.
The first place to start in a schedule is a wake up time and bedtime. Contrary to what we would think, kids tend to sleep better the more sleep they get. When they are over tired, they have a harder time sleeping, and it impacts many areas of their lives from mood, to focus and behavior. At Sheridan House, in the Residential Program, the middle schoolers go to bed anywhere between 8:30-9:30 depending on behavior. Keep in mind that kids aged 3-5 should sleep 10-13 hours a day including naps. Kids ages 6-12 should be getting anywhere from 9-12 hours and teens need 8-10. Amazingly, studies have shown a lot of neurological development happens during sleep. Use all that to say how much sleep your child should be getting and adjust your schedule accordingly.
Wake up is the second area that should be placed on the schedule. That is another thing that impacts our sleep. If we are consistently getting up at the same time every day, it helps our bodies to sleep better. Something to consider… how you wake up sets the tone for your entire day. If your mornings are a frenetic and frenzied pace to get everyone out the door as fast as possible, you may want to consider getting up a little earlier. One thing that I have found is if I get up earlier, I have a little bit of time to myself to drink my coffee and spend time in the Word; I feel more relaxed starting my day.
As you are building your morning schedule, also consider setting aside time to eat breakfast together. It’s a great way to set your kids’ focus for the day as well. We also read a devotional together at breakfast. Make sure to be realistic on how long things will take your kids to get done, like getting dressed, etc. Next month we will be diving into other areas to add to your schedule. Make sure to check back in with us!!!
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.