As local kids and teens transition back to a 5-day school schedule, one thing that may help is setting a new daily routine.
Wilikinia Vasquez, Child and Adolescent Therapist with the Center for Child & Family Counseling, says many of the students she works with are feeling anxious about the transition to full-time learning.
"When things feel unstable and unpredictable, children can be more anxious and/or display more disruptive behaviors," she says.
In an effort to help, she shared the following advice for parents:
- Don't expect everything to change overnight - Be patient. This is a huge transition and it may take time for kids to adjust.
- Establish your family’s “new normal” - Develop daily routines that foster healthy habits, such as packing a back-up face mask and hand sanitizer in the morning and washing their hands as soon as they come home from school.
- Talk about routines - Include your child(ren) in the conversation about establishing new routines. Work on the schedule together and consider posting it somewhere visible in your home.
Vasquez provided a sample routine that families could follow:
- 7:00 a.m. - Wake up
- 8:00 a.m. - Leave for school
- 8:40 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. - School
- 3:45 p.m. - Arrive home, wash hands
- 3:45-5:00 p.m. - Homework time
- 5-6:00 p.m. - Family dinner
- 6-8:00 p.m. - Free time (non-educational electronics only allowed on Fridays and Saturdays)
- 8:30 p.m. - Bedtime routine
- 9:00 p.m. - Lights out
"Remember children do best when they know what to expect," says Vasquez. "Establishing normalcy and routines is crucial in helping them adjust."