My boys are back in school after a break for teacher conferences and President’s day that lasted 5 days. School breaks, holidays, illness, and snow days (um, guess what will probably be happening in these parts tomorrow if the weather people are correct?) can throw us off our routines. Here’s how I (attempt) to deal with the changes and manage our return to that routine.
First, I should admit that I am not a huge regimented routine type of person. That worked well when I was single but you throw other people with their own ideas into the mix and that doesn’t work so well anymore. I admire those people who eat dinner promptly at 6p.m every night, make their kids do homework from 6:30-7:00p.m., read from 7:00-7:30p.m., and go to bed by 8:00p.m. I am not one of those people. If that works for your family, great! However, I have found it works better to follow a somewhat looser routine around here. I don’t worry too much about when the boys wake up in the morning as long as they are ready for the bus on time. I try to make sure they get breakfast around 7a.m. and 8a.m. respectively. It was a lot easier last year when they went to school at the same time! I let them have “nothing time” after school until dinner is ready. I aim for dinner to be ready around 5:30p.m. but I’ve been known to serve dinner anywhere from 5p.m. to 7p.m. depending on what’s cooking and how it’s turning out. After dinner, they do their homework and then enjoy a bit of free time until about 9p.m. when it is time to wind down for the night by reading. If this doesn’t happen until closer to 9:30p.m., I try not to get overly excited about it.
Here are a few things that help me to get us back on track after our routines have been de-railed for whatever reason:
Prevention! I try to not let us get too far off our routines in the first place. Breakfast may get pushed back but I try to keep lunch and dinner around the same times. I generally don’t let them stay up more than an hour past their regular bedtime unless there is special reason like an overnight or a holiday happening. We also will often go ahead and feed our kids a light lunch prior to holiday family gatherings that have meals at odd times especially if the meal time is say 2p.m. and we normally eat lunch around noon. Hungry, hyper kids do not make for enjoyable gatherings.
Acceptance! It is not likely that after staying up until 11p.m. all summer, anyone is going to be able to go to bed promptly at 9p.m. and promptly fall asleep to wake up at the crack of dawn with ease. It takes time to ease back into those routines. I accept that it will take a couple of weeks for us to get back on track and there may be some bumps along the way.
Re-Evaluation! It is the perfect time to re-evaluate routines and determine whether the current routines require adjustments. I realized the boys were spending a bit more time on the x-box than I liked so as I move to try to reclaim our routines after the current break, I am trying to add a few new rules about that.
Those are my three main tips and tricks for returning to our routine after breaks. Do you have any secrets for a smooth return to routines after planned or unplanned breaks from them?