(Or at least that is how it can feel when dealing with our children who have learning and behavioural differences.)
Now that summer is coming to a close, and the weather is getting a bit cooler, we have to turn our thoughts to getting back into our school routines. For some, this can be very stressful. Just thinking about having to get our children ready and out the door and fed, dressed and on time can send us into panic mode! How many times do we have to remind them to do things such as to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, find and put on their shoes, and get out the door? Do we feel like the resident nag? Does it seem like we have done a day’s work before we have even begun the day? And that is just the beginning. After school and night time routines can be just as frustrating!
We can help our children, and especially those with learning differences, have fewer struggles and prevent burnout for us before the month of September is over. Routines are extremely helpful for children with challenges. Knowing what to expect can make a huge difference in their behaviour and attitudes.
- Prepare for tomorrow today. Get them to choose and lay out their clothes for the next day before they go to bed. You can also have them make their lunches the night before.
- Make a breakfast schedule for every day of the week. For example, every Monday is eggs and toast, Tuesday is granola and yogurt, and Wednesday is muffins and fruit. You get the idea. This reduces the stress in the morning and prevents you from having to prepare three different things. The children all know what to expect, and they can even help decide and prepare it.
- Have an after-school snack ready for when they get home. Sometimes our children just need a little protein or a bit of a boost to prevent melt downs. Keep healthy, easy food they can grab when they get in the door. (Prepare some of this on the weekend – cut up veggies, crackers, muffins etc.)
- Have a bedtime routine. As much as possible, spend some time with your children before they go to sleep. Let them have a snack, brush their teeth, get their pajamas on, and then take time to talk with them and read together.
It can really feel like bedlam when we are struggling with our children to get them out the door for school or ready for bed. However, if we can put a few simple practices into place, it can make a huge difference in the stress level and in the co-operation of our children with challenges.
What are some things you do to relieve the stress of dealing with children with challenges? We all can use good suggestions, so please share your ideas with us!