New School Year, New Routine

Special needs mom, Clinical and School Psychologist
09/01/23  7:00 AM PST
new school year new schedule. structuring family schedule with start of new school year

The school year just beginning, and if you’re anything like me, I am dreading the rush, rush, rush that happens in my house. I loved how summer nights were not driven by activities, homework, and the intensity that takes over once the school year begins. As I am gearing myself up for the new school year, I’m thinking about how I can hold on to a piece of that summer breeziness in the midst of the insanity that takes over my house and family.

Shut It Down in the Evenings

Designate a time of the evening that all members of the family will begin to end the day and settle down for the night. That time may vary from night to night, but when this hour rings, this is the time when you and your children/teens/young adults understand will begin to get ready for the next day (e.g., put away their backpacks in their designated areas, charge chrome books, take out clothing for the next day, prepare tomorrow’s lunch, and jump into pajamas). Once these preparatory tasks are completed, begin to wind down mentally and physically free of electronics. The physical act of intentionally shutting down and bringing the day to an end will also facilitate the transition to sleep, which can be anxiety provoking for kids, teens, and young adults.

Keeping the Schedule from Getting Overscheduled

Take survey of your child’s extracurricular involvement. My general rule of thumb for a child of any age is one activity per child per season.  Children and adolescents are scheduled for multiple activities and/or therapies that can become too much, leaving little time for rest and spontaneous social and family interactions. In setting up this guideline for your children now, you teach your child that finding a balance between work and play is a part of daily planning of his or her schedule.

By keeping it to one activity or therapy, your child can truly enjoy or invest his energy into it without the pressure of having multiple places to be each week. This is also means that family dinner may be a possibility two-three times per week… at a table (whether you’re eating in or out of your home) with utensils rather than on the go.

Sacred Weekends

I love the weekend. I have always loved the weekend. For me, the weekend is a time to stay in my pajamas and slow down the pace a bit. Use your weekends for catch up on life, and build in family or social time so that the weekend is not just catching up on errands. Use weekends to catch up with your family or friends on movies, game nights, preparing dinner together, or whatever else makes you feel rested before Monday hits again.

With summer coming to an end, let’s incorporate moments of pause and rest into our and our children’s daily schedule as much as we can.


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