There is a reason every classroom teacher has set routines in place – and it isn’t just to keep the classroom clean. Teachers instill routines because studies have shown they are beneficial to child development. Children thrive when they know what to expect and creating a routine is the first step in helping their development.
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Why are routines important?
Routines provide a secure environment. Children need structure to feel safe, and predictability goes a long way in providing structure.
Routines develop good habits. By teaching your child how to get started each day or how to wrap up their school day at home, you are helping them to establish important skills for their future.
Routines save time. We spoke about the importance of time management, and the best way to assist your child in managing their time is by establishing routines that will keep them focused and making progress.
Routines help with transition time. Children typically struggle with transitions from one task to the next. Transition time is often reduced when a routine is in place and a child knows what to expect next.
What routines are most important?
Classroom teachers have routines for everything. They set expectations for entering the classroom in the morning, participating in morning meeting, turning in homework assignments, leaving the classroom for lunch and recess, passing out assignments, and closing the day.
Because your home is not a classroom with 20+ children, we don’t expect you to have a routine for allowing your child to use the bathroom during the day, but you should have routines in place for your child to get started each day, transitioning between tasks, and closing out the school day.
Starting Each Day
Rolling out of bed five minutes before class starts to go to the bathroom and change their shirt is not an appropriate routine. Just as adults need time in the morning to fully wake up, so do children. Children should wake up about an hour before their first class starts. This will give them time to slowly make their way from their bed and into their day.
Every morning before classes start, your child should complete the following task:
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Wash face
- Brush hair
- Get dressed
Transitioning Between Tasks
Between each assignment or class, children should stand up, get a drink of water and move their body. When they are at school, they typically walk from one classroom to the next when transitioning. Elementary school teachers often have their students stand up and shake out their bodies before starting a new subject. Consider having your child do this between his or her classes while at home.
At the start of each new class, your child should find the folder, notebook, or binder associated with that class and put it on her desk. Before sitting down, have your child resharpen his pencil (using this uber-effective pencil sharpener that I am obsessed with), refill his water bottle, and move around a bit.
If you have stairs in your home, have your child walk up and down the stairs once or twice between each class to keep them moving! No stairs? Send them for a lap around the house outside or for a walk up and down the hallway. Movement is important throughout the day!
For younger children, it will be helpful to set a timer between classes. I know in our house, it is easier to end a break or a transition time with a timer than with mom or dad saying break time is over.
At the End of Class/End of the Day
Before leaving their computer at the end of each class, your child should turn in any assignments due that day for that class. For middle school and high school students, this is particularly important.
As a classroom teacher, a simple statement at the start of every class – every single day – reminded students to turn in his or her homework. But you would be surprised at the number of students who still forgot to put their homework in the homework bin, despite my reminder. And these are students who actually did the assignment but missed the prompt.
As a tutor, I see the same thing happen every day. Kids can work diligently to get their homework done and then forget to turn it in. When our children are working from home, this will happen more often!
Writing a sticky note and placing it on the corner of their screen will be a visual reminder for them to submit their assignments each day.
When classes are finished, your child may or may not have homework. If they do, allow them to take a break, just as they would at the end of a school day. When they are finished with their homework, they should return their school supplies and binders to the designated workspace, clear off their desks, push in their chairs, and close down their computers.
They should also make sure their devices are plugged in and charging to ensure full strength for the next day.
What routines do you have in your home for your children? Classroom teachers, what tips and suggestions do you have for parents as they set routines for homeschooling?