Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home, Parenting
Whether you’re attending a private school this fall, transitioning to virtual learning or choosing to homeschool, changing to a new routine after an extra-long summer implies a change in routine. Here are 11 ways to help make the shift:
Do not dwell on past habits:2020 has brought uncertainty in so many forms but also the chance for a fresh start in some ways. Instead of trying what has not worked before, commit to the idea that this first semester will be different than other back-to-school seasons. Create new habits that work in the present circumstances.
Write it down: Organize your thoughts on paper. Define what you want to do before launching into how. Outline a path but know that just because it’s written down doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. You can make adjustments as needed but an overview gives you something to look back to when it’s less clear what you set out to achieve this year.
Prioritize goals and define how you can accomplish them: Fill in the details. “Zero tardies this semester” or “Teach Aubrey to read” sound great but getting there requires defining some actionable steps. What has hampered those efforts in the past? Detail some strategies to start off on the right foot.
Add in “the child factor” to all plans: You may be excited about a new routine or goal but getting kids on-board is key. Know that kids won’t see the same picture you do so get ready to modify the landscape. Sprinkle in rewards for milestones as needed and know they’ll likely need more time than you originally anticipated to make it work.
Be open to new solutions: If your child continually struggles to find her shoe just as the clock strikes go time, eliminate the problem. Brainstorm with your child for a way to keep track of the shoes. If you have to use double stick duct tape and add them to the door you walk through each day on the way to the car, so be it.
Establish a minimum threshold and a maximum ideal to define success: Even if you cannot achieve exactly what you set out to accomplish due to factors beyond your control, not doing everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something. Progress may fall right in the middle but you’ll know your own success when you see it.
Push doubt from your mind: You can do hard things. Admittedly, we didn’t know how many of those would be required of us this year. Not one parent, science expert or educator has all the answers. Sift through the social media echo chamber and advice from people who aren’t living your life to discover solutions none of us knew were possible.
Build in breathing room:A new routine can be excellent but also something of a shock. Take a break and focus on what’s going right before circling back to problem issues.
Make adjustments: You may discover that what you’re trying to achieve is actually something else. Shift the plan, try something else and know that you’re working towards solutions.
Forward, ever forward: Tomorrow is a new day. Try something else if yesterday’s approach didn’t yield the intended results.
Be realistic: Lofty goals like skipping a grade as a result of swift progress at home or completing “War and Peace” as a read-aloud with your high schooler will probably not happen this year despite everyone’s best efforts. No one is expecting perfection. You’re already going above and beyond by trying a new routine in the middle of a pandemic. (And if amazing results do happen, we want to know your tips, tricks and secrets of your ways. Share them with our readers! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.)