Getting Kids Used to New Routines

Last month, I talked about how discouraged I was that Jack was not excited about school anymore. It is very disheartening to have your child complain about school every day, especially when they were so excited about school the year before. I also struggled at the beginning of the year with my daughters understanding that they go to school in the afternoons twice a week. The other days they have to stay at home with me.

Change can be hard for kids, and I’ve always believed that if you stick with the change, they will adjust. I’m happy to say that after persevering over the last two months, my children have adjusted very well to the changes in their lives. Jack started counting down the days until he goes to school again this weekend, which is great! I’d love for him to be excited about being home with me on the weekends, but I would much rather have him be excited for school. It is such a relief to have him excited about learning again. I know this excitement probably won’t last forever (although I hope it does!) but, it is nice to see him enjoying school again.

Similarily, my daughters look forward to school, but have come to understand that it is not something that happens everyday. It is also very nice not have to deal with the whining and fighting about not bringing backpacks every morning when we drop off Jack. They now understand that they have to wait until after lunch, and then they get to go. And they only go some days.

I’m not sure if there is a specific method that works for children when getting them used to new routines. I think that you just have to explain to them the new schedule and give them ways to understand the change. We use meal times a lot as a frame of reference. After lunch, we’ll do this. After dinner, we’ll do this. It helps them recognize if something is going to happen in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

Ultimately, I think that the most important thing is consistency. If it keeps happening, then they can get into the routine and they know what to expect. I’m sure some kids take longer to adjust than others, but you just have to keep at it. I’m not an expert, but I’m sure they will come around in their own time.

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