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Why morning routines are important as kids head back to school

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August 28, 2018 - 6:30 PM

With the first day of school one week away, there are a few things parents can start doing now to help make that back-to-school transition a bit easier for themselves and their children.

B.C. psychologist and parenting expert Vanessa Lapointe says mornings before school should be more than just making sure your children brush their teeth and don’t forget their lunches. It’s also about making sure they are set up emotionally and mentally to not only take on the school day but that they’re ready to have the best possible day.

All children and parent relationships are different, says Lapointe, and it’s important to address each child based on what they need. Although it may sound simple, making sure your family has enough time in the morning is important to the process.

“I always encourage parents to set their alarms for 15 minutes earlier than what they think they need in terms of time,” Lapointe says. “That way they can use that 15 minutes to create a base of relational connection with their child in the morning.”

That might look like reading a book together or sitting down to eat breakfast together, Lapointe says.

“We are a social species, and children, in particular, are reliant on those relational connections,” she says, adding that making sure children have those important sessions with their parents in the morning will help them throughout the day.

Lapointe also suggests parents use some sort of visual timer to help kids better understand the concept of time without parents having to remind them while they get ready in the morning.

“Most parents might say something like ‘We have to be out the door in 15 minutes, you’ve got to brush your teeth, pack your backpack and make sure your lunch is pulled out of the fridge’…like you might as well be speaking Greek, they’re not really going to internalize the passage of time,” she says.

There are several different types of apps and timers Lapointe encourages parents to check out to help kids understand time.

It’s also important to acknowledge that going back to school after the summer break can be a big deal to some kids, especially those starting at a new school.

“Find ways for your child to stay connected with you throughout the day even when they’re away from you,” Lapointe says, adding that small things like adding notes to lunch bags can help children feel connected.

Another way parents can help is by meeting their child’s teacher early on in the school year.

“I often suggest (parents) find ways to lay eyes and ears on their (child’s) teachers as early as possible,” she says. “Also have the child observing parents and teachers chatting… if your child can see you have a quick chat with the teacher, see you having a laugh with them, sharing some enjoyment in the hallway or classroom then your child may think ‘Oh my mom or dad thinks my teacher’s cool and now I can think my teacher is cool too.”

For more information on parenting visit Lapointe's website here.

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