Parenting through Changing Routines

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For the next few weeks, many things will be out of our normal routine. Schools are on break. There will be no getting up early and needing to rush off to bed at a certain time. No homework to finish! (My daughter is particularly excited about this one.)

Visits with family or friends, musical recitals and parties to attend are at the forefront of our minds. And for some of us this change in routine is a blessed break and can even be invigorating! But for many kids, this break in routine is unsettling and can leave them feeling a little “lost.”

How can we help our kids enjoy all the experiences that the holiday season has to offer without the stress of a lack of routine?

  1. Communicate plans for your day. Each evening before bed talk with your child about what will be happening in the next 24 hours so he or she knows what to expect. This may sound silly but for some kids, sleep may simply come better if they know what to expect the next day.
  2. Create some anchor routines that are not dependent on a time of day. You may not be waking, eating or sleeping at a set time during this season but a set routine when you wake or established plan for connecting can be very grounding for some kids. Maybe as they wake, each child gets a long hug from mom or dad or snuggles with you on the couch for a few minutes before actually starting the day. Maybe before bed, you plan to spend 10 minutes the next day to play a chosen game at some point during the day. Simple things that help you connect can really get your day started off on the right foot and reassure your kids.
  3. Make sure your child knows that he or she can tell you if they are feeling overwhelmed. Have a code word or sign (3 taps on your elbow, etc.) that means, “Mom, I really need to talk to you/take a break/etc.”
  4. Plan for adequate sleep for your kiddos. Most of us can handle a day or two of shortened sleep but more than that can lead to grumpiness or moodiness, especially for kids.

So, find a connection routine that helps ground you and your kids and Rock this Holiday!

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