Over the summer, your child may have developed some bad habits. This happens in a lot of families. Schedules get tweaked, meals turn into snacks, and electronics become ever-prevalent in daily life. Now that the school year in full swing, your child must adjust to ‘normal’ life again. Here are some tips to help you break your kid’s bad summer habits.
Establish a Clear Schedule
Chances are your child was not on a strict schedule over the summer. It’s time to get back into an established routine. Your child may resist this change for the first week or so, but ultimately, children thrive with set schedules. Create nighttime routines and morning routines that allow plenty of time to wind down/get ready. Plan meals around the times your child eats at school, and make other adjustments to keep the transition smooth.
Maintain a School Schedule on the Weekends
You may be tempted to let your child stay up late on the weekends. Doing that will make it difficult for your child to re-adjust on Monday. It’s best to maintain the same schedule on the weekends as you have throughout the week. Yes, that means you have to wake up early as well. Consistency is crucial to breaking bad summer habits.
Encourage Alternate Behaviors
If your child is resistant to the new changes, don’t immediately jump to punishment. Instead, encourage an alternate behavior. For instance, if the new schedule says, “No video games after 6 PM,” you could encourage your child to read a book after that. You could also instill a family game night that replaces screen time. Encouraging different behavior is often more effective than punishing unwanted behavior.
Don’t Make Too Many Changes at Once
If possible, make these changes gradually. You may allow your child to play games for the first week of school because he is getting used to the new wake-up time. Then you can remove games from the equation the following week. You can gauge your adjustments based on your child’s personal needs.
Break Your Own Bad Habits
Your child mimics your behaviors and feeds off your energy. If you stay up all night, your child will wonder why he can’t. That doesn’t mean you have to go to bed at 8 PM, but be conscientious of your actions. Reduce your screen time while you’re with your child. Eat healthy meals, and read a book on occasion. The more good habits you have, the more your child will want the same.