Some parents dread the end of the holiday school break while others look forward to the schedule that regular school days bring. Regardless of whether you fear it or welcome it, the New Year has begun and it's time to get back into a routine. Here's how!
Dr. Richard Horowitz, parenting coach and author of Family Centered Parenting, suggests having a family meeting. If your children are old enough to understand and participate in discussions, call a family meeting to lay out your plans for your post-holiday routine.
"I strongly advocate the practice of regular family meetings to create an environment where rules are created and families plan together and problem solve as a family unit," says Dr. Horowitz. Think about it. Your eight year old might not be on board when you suddenly tell him that bedtime has been moved back to 8:30 after weeks of hitting the sack at 10:00 -- or later -- but if you talk about it first in a discussion-style setting, there are no surprises. Plus, if your child understands your reasoning, you're even more likely to succeed when implementing your post-holiday routine.
Have you ever gone on a serious diet that involved giving up absolutely everything that you enjoy? Did you succeed? If you're like most people, the answer is probably no. Think about a post-holiday routine from your ten year old's perspective. He has been able to stay up late, watch movies, play more video games than usual and hasn't had a single piece of homework to complete. And now you're asking him to go to bed at 8:00, limiting television and video game play time to a measly hour a day and making him sit down at the table for over an hour of homework every night. Say what?!
Many parents find that easing into a routine works best. E.G. Sebastian, relationship development coach, shares, "I ease them back into the school routine gradually. I might take them roller-blading after school. We might watch a movie on Wednesday night (which usually is a no-no). And we help them with their homework in the first few weeks. It takes a little time and a little planning, but it's all worth it, as they'll have a smoother transition."
We all know how easy it is to fall into a bad habit…and how difficult it is to break one. Think of your routine in the same way. It doesn't take any time to blow your routine but it takes time and effort to reestablish it. The good news is that even though it may not happen as quickly as you'd like, you will reestablish your family's routine. Hang in there!
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