Routines Lead to Better School Attendance

Parent & Family Engagement | 11/30/2016

Deb Jaquith Marketing and Communications Director

Deborah serves as the marketing communications director for Stand for Children Washington.

Parents often say that they have a hard time getting their kids to bed in the evening and ready for school in the morning. And it’s true.

How many of you have seen your child dissolve into a blubbering mass of hysteria at the mere hint of bedtime?

That’s largely because kids don’t have the same sense of time that adults do. They base their world on events and experiences rather than hours and minutes. School attendance is critical to their successful education.

So what can you do? 

Consider creating consistent routines for both mornings and evenings.  Children thrive when they understand expectations. And as parents, it’s important that you set those expectations clearly. Think about what motivates your child. Is it attention from you or your spouse? Or do they enjoy winning at games?  You can create a winning strategy for getting them into routines by simply identifying what motivates them and using that to your advantage.

In the mornings, for example, you may have a child who hates to get up. Can you create a situation where they get rewarded when they are up, dressed, and ready for breakfast by a certain time? Maybe you allow them to watch 30 minutes of cartoons while they eat their breakfast? Or whoever gets to the breakfast table first gets to pick breakfast from a small list of mom-approved items? Be inventive with it.

Likewise, when you say, “It’s time for bed,” link that to specific and consistent activities at the end of each day.

What types of activities having a soothing effect on your child? Does reading a story make them sleepy or find them wide eyed and demanding more? Perhaps an evening bath with bubbles would have them ready for bed. And if you work in the evenings; maybe you can give them a call each night to “tuck them in.” If they are not ready for bed; they don’t get the time with you on the phone. You know how your child behaves and you are most qualified to determine appropriate bedtime routines.

Just having bedtime and morning routines will make a big difference in your ability to get them to school in a timely fashion. So go ahead, give it a try.

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