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Establishing Routines: It’s Never Too Late - Kathryn Trudeau

Establishing Routines: It’s Never Too Late


Parenting author Kathryn Trudeau explores 3 ways to help establish your routines during the school year and how to ease your children into the new schedule.

Some years we have it all organized.

We create meticulous lesson plans during the summer, purchase supplies with plenty of time to spare, and create Pinterest-perfect after-school snacks. Other years do not start off so perfectly: summer ends abruptly and we face autumn with less than optimal routines and schedules.

However, with enough preparation and determination, it’s not too late to set a schedule or establish a routine, even if you’ve already started school. Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to fall back into the swing of things.

Involve your child in the process

Change is difficult for anyone, but children have a harder time processing change, particularly change to daily routines. Letting your child be part of the transition process helps prepare them mentally, which leads to a smoother transition.

Try these ideas to get your children involved:

  • Head to a school supply store and let your child select a poster board and some stickers. Create a new family schedule and allow your child to decorate the schedule. Hang it in a prominent place.
  • Even though school is underway, purchasing a few supplies to replace old or worn out supplies is a fun way to get back into the school mindset. Write a list together and let your child choose the color or style of the items. A few lime green pencils will be okay!

Implement a uniform or dress code

When my oldest son was preparing to start pre-kindergarten, I knew he was going to need help transitioning from summer mode to school mode. To top it off, we just moved into a new house, and he was living in a constant state of excitement; he is easily overwhelmed by change, and this was a big summer of changes. After much thought and research, my husband and I decided to implement a uniform in our homeschool.

I mentally prepared myself for some resistance on his part, but I was pleasantly surprised. We included him in this process too! When we went shopping for back to school supplies, my son chose his own uniform pieces, including a snappy red tie.

When Monday morning came, he eagerly wore his uniform, and I noticed that he was/is able to focus on lessons and school work better. It’s easy for him to separate “school” from play when he is in his uniform, and I credit this decision with our smooth transition to our new school schedule.

In fact, a 2003 study illuminated the effect of wearing a uniform on scholastic performance. Researchers found students’ behavior was increased when mandatory uniforms were required.

Factor sleep into the new schedule

Both of my children struggle with the changing of seasons because the early nights and changing daylight hours throw them off at first. For my older son, this meant changing his nap and sleep routine. Instead of a late afternoon nap, he simply skipped the nap and went to bed two hours earlier. Consequently, our school schedule had to adjust. Rather than adjust my son’s sleep around a school schedule, I have the freedom to adjust his school schedule around his optimal sleep schedule.

When you implement a new schedule or school routine, take into consideration your child’s sleep preferences. Does your child receive the recommended amount of sleep each night? Perhaps including a nap is the answer for your family. After all, studies show that naps improve memory function and academic ability.

Regardless of whether you add a nap, remove a nap, or change bedtime, sleep is an important part of any schedule. Without the right amount of sleep, a child will struggle to learn to the best of his/her ability.

What are some methods your family has used to ease into a new schedule or routine?

Header photo CC chocolates4me |

About Kathryn Trudeau

Kathryn Trudeau
Kathryn Trudeau is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting, writing, and illustrating children's books. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the educational and entertaining value of books and hopes to spread that love to others around the world. Join in the conversation at


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