An after-effect of vacations is that your family goes off track on healthy habits you worked hard to instil. Re-establishing them is made possible with the power of routine.
Slow and steady
Don’t assume this is going to be easy. This is perhaps one place you would not want to use band-aid therapy. Getting started early is a good idea, but go easy. Taking it slow makes it easier on you and your kids.
Early to bed
Starting small is key; the first problem to tackle is recommitting to bedtime. Kids between ages five and 10 need upto 11hours of sleep. Those who are not well rested tend to overeat, are not generally happy and choose to remain inactive. Re-instate the rule, set a bedtime and stick to it, even on weekends.
Early to rise
Have your kids setting their alarm clocks to ‘school day’ waking hours a week before classes start. Let them follow the routine of freshening up and being at the table on time for breakfast. Let them go on with the day as they please, even if that means going back to sleep.
A square meal
You need to make time for family meals. Not only is it essential to build a connection; it has been proven that kids who eat with the family eat healthier and are less likely to be obese. The holidays must have allowed the influx of fast food into your home. Break the cycle by planning meals for the week.
If you haven’t already, then it’s time to set an hour for silence in the evening. This is meant for the kids to get used to the concept of setting aside time for homework. Let them read for now. The idea is to keep them away from gadgets in those 60 minutes.
Make it a practice that a week before they’re back to school, older children should be kept from going out at night. Teaching them to gravitate towards home is a significant part of their academic life. While the holidays are focused on ‘out of home’ activities, by the end of the break, they should be able to get back to routine.
Deal with resistance
Change isn’t easily accepted. So expect conflict. Set ground rules, stick to them and they will eventually stick to it. Don’t bring in the reward system for basic household obligations. It can backfire. Instead, deny them an allowance or other privileges to build a sense of responsibility.
For few years, you need to keep track of your child’s assignments. Most schools send a copy of the to-do list to parents anyway. Set a reward system for achievements like good grades and winning contests. Punishment would simply mean not giving them a reward.
Off the record
Instead of scolding children for underachieving, ask them what they’ve learnt from the experience and what they’d do differently. Failure is a natural consequence; they need to learn from it. If nothing helps, seek professional guidance. Many kids get motivated from well-managed study groups.
Screaming and harassing is as stressful to them as it is to you. Besides, you are supposed to show them how to communicate, especially when they’re upset. Handling stress is a skill that can help them for life. Teach by example. Yelling is never the answer.