For those families that are new to the school this year, and as a refresher for everyone else, let me share a little bit of information. My role is about providing support to students, families, and staff. This support ranges all the way from chatting in the yard at recess and lunch, to running groups focusing on social and emotional learning and wellbeing, to providing individual personal assistance when major life events or crises occur.
People can be referred to me by their parents, their teacher, or even themselves. You can contact me by phoning the front office or by sending me an email. I am at school on Wednesdays and Fridays.
How are you going getting into the routine of school? For some families stepping back into last year’s habits is easy. For other families (and I include myself here) during the holidays weekends and weekdays look very similar and the school day routine is a bit of a shock to the system. Other families are new to the school, or have a new house or jobs and therefore need to develop different routines to last year. I hope that things are settling down for you and you are starting to feel quite comfortable.
There is so much evidence to show that routines benefit our wellbeing. This is particularly true for children:
- A regular bedtime (and wake time) helps us to have a healthy amount of sleep
- A good bedtime routine helps us to fall asleep quickly
- A morning routine helps us to ensure that we are ready for the day and don’t forget anything
- Regular times for exercise, homework and chores helps to ensure that they are done, and can lessen arguments about needing to do them
In the hectic morning rush, or at the end of the day when everyone is exhausted, patience can be hard to show. If you find yourself repeating the same request over and over each day then maybe it is time to try another way of communicating.
Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson talks about success with using theme songs for the daily routine. For example, each time the child hears song A they know that it is time to put on their shoes and take their school bag to the car ready to go, and each time they hear song B they know that it is time to brush their teeth and get into bed. The most important part of the song choice is that the child needs to make the decision, so that they have ownership over the process. As part of a routine, even an upbeat song can have a calming effect.
Another hint that Dr Coulson makes is to give the child a choice about a small matter rather than the large matter. For example saying, ‘It is time for bed, would you like to brush your teeth or put on your pyjamas first?’ distracts with the small choice, leaving less choice about whether or not to get ready for bed.
For young children a pictorial list of morning tasks on the fridge can be a great reminder of everything that needs doing. Some children also benefit from a picture of a clock showing the deadline for each task.
Some children (and adults) are very slow to get going in the morning. It can help speed things up and make things more fun if everyday tasks are turned into races. Who can get dressed first, you or your brother? Who can finish their breakfast first, you or mum?
Routines help us to feel safe and to be healthier. I encourage you to continue with any routine that is working well, and to develop new routines as required. It can take some time to adjust to a routine, so be patient and caring. The rewards are well worth the effort.
PASTORAL CARE WORKER
at HCEPS on Wednesdays and Fridays