Preparing for Re-entry... Back To The Real World

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"The holidays were a huge setback.  All of the ground we had gained was lost.  It was something about the lack of structure that just seemed to make her melt down."

We hear this sentence and many like it a lot from parents in our offices.  The holidays come with lots of fun and very little structure.  They're often pretty chaotic.  And kids, as a result, can be overwhelmed.  We say often that structure and boundaries create security in kids.  We would add, in this season, even over the holidays.  Obviously, it can be fun to stay up late from time to time.  But your children will still need down time in these weeks off of school.  They will need time where they can process and reflect and play, without having to make conversations with family and have the appropriate response and timely smile.  And they will need help transitioning back into school mode.  A father just told me tonight how he makes his fourteen year-old daughter go to bed early the Saturday night before school starts back and spend Sunday quietly preparing for the next day.  No schedule.  No chaos.  Just getting back into the groove.  

In the midst of the wonderfully chaotic holidays, your children do still need structure.  They need bedtimes and some degree of routines.  They need time to rest and play.  And they need a little time to prepare for the re-entry back into the much more structured schedule of school in just a few short days...And they will need patience from you when the schedule shifts again and they are trying to re-establish their regular routine.  It's hard for us, with fully developed brains.  It's even harder for these little people who are entrusted to our care.  

What are some of your re-entry routines?