Tips and tools to ease your morning and after school routines
Do you feel settled yet in the back to school grind?
My name is Kim Calichio and I am the founder of The Connected Chef. I am also a GUG parent myself and I remember starting GUG & how inconsistent and reactive our Kindergarten days felt.
I never knew the "right" thing to do for my child or me, but fast forward 2 years and second grade started off without a hitch.
Whether you are a 5th-grade family or just starting off in Kindergarten, the Back to School transition can be tough. Here are some tips and tools to enjoy this new start as a family.
Here are three adjustments to help soothe the school year...
1. A realistic and simplified schedule
This starts the day off and will carry your child through the day with positive energy. A strong morning routine can look different for everyone, but
CONSISTENCY IS KEY.
Take a look at what’s not working for your family in the morning.
What is driving you (or your kid) mad? What are the pieces that are making your morning feel so hard?
Once you’ve assessed the situation and come up with some potential solutions...have a conversation with your child about what’s not working. Ask them how
they would LIKE to have their day look.
It is SO important that we open up the lines of communication with our kids and let them in on the discussion of making change in your days. Whether that is
change in meals, change in schedule, etc.
TALK about what’s happening, what’s working and what’s not.
Need to brainstorm solutions? Follow us on IG @theconnectedchef and let us know how we can support you!
Once kids start school, they often don’t have enough time to just play freely. Play is how our kids learn, process and unwind. By giving them some time in the morning to wake up – they can engage with themselves and begin their day
Some of you might be saying that – “If I let my kid play, he will never want to stop and it will be a mess.”
We get that and this will work better for some kids than others, but the CONVERSATION around this routine will ensure that this is something you are doing TOGETHER.
Adding structure to it will be the KEY to success.
2. Prioritize playtime at home (even for the older kids!)
Having a clear plan with visual aides is the action piece that will support the above 2 steps.
One of our client’s morning routine with their kids looks like this:
• 1st alarm goes off at 6 am. I wake up the kids and let them know it’s time to get up and they have 30min. to play while I go back to bed.
• 2nd alarm goes off at 6:30: This is the kid’s 5-minute warning that play is about to stop
• 3rd alarm goes off at 6:35: Time to start getting ready (and for me to get up)
• We go to our “Are you ready?” chart and start the routine. They have a choice to do the routine in whatever order they choose.
If there is extra time after everything is done, they can read before we head out the door or start the day.
3. Make a plan & create visuals to aide
Tips and Recipes for a Healthy Dinner Time
Your child's school day is filled with focus, making choices, and stretching themselves both academically and socially.
The truth is - they are tired by 3 pm.
The hard part is that they don't always know how to express what's happening inside their head. They also don't always know what the need or when.
What does your child need right after school?
• Downtime with minimal stimulation?
• Quiet connection with you or another person?
• Get out pent up energy from their day?
Talk with them and find out!
Ask them what makes them feel calm? What makes them feel recharged?
This conversation is also always best when had on a weekend when everyone is out of school and work mode.
Then you can create a loose after school routine that works for your family (Just like you did for the morning!)
"After School Meltdowns" are a real thing!
The majority of kids’ internal dinner time is often at 4:30-5pm
Pay attention to when your kids hungriest (a.k.a when are they eating the most snacks!)
Utilize that time to get healthy food into them at that time.
Maybe it's a sit-down dinner OR maybe it’s a really healthy schmorgaas board (cheese, olive, vegetables, grains)
This can feel especially tricky for working parents, but don’t feel pressured to have a traditional dinner at this time -- Just your healthiest OPTIONS.
Your child can have dinner foods as a “snack”. The point is to get them eating something nutritious.
You can still have your sit down dinner at 6:30 if that is what works with your families schedule, but the pressure is off because you know they’ve eaten something healthy already.
This early fuel will give them the energy and ability to make it through the rest of the day and minimize the big feelings and tantrums around Homework and bedtime transitions.
Eat dinner earlier
Try our four recipes with meal prep suggestions below that can all be made ahead and frozen for a rainy day!
Did you know that The Connected Chef works individually with families to re-create dinner time by reworking your scheduling, meal planning and how you connect as a family?
Email Kim@theconnectedchef.com to find out more!