You know how there are some parts of who you are that are just unabashedly you? Some of us are pensive, or talkative, or good at math, or have excellent penmanship. Well, I am really great at being organized, and I thrive on routines! Summer is fantastic, and I love every second of it. But, there’s something about the routine of the school year that really gets me going. Getting off your summer schedule, and getting kids back to school can be daunting. Especially if this is your first kiddo starting school, and you have more kiddos at home! Baby Sleep Trainer is here to help you kick those summer-ending blues, and get a good back-to-school routine going for baby, your older kiddos, and you!
Honoring Baby’s Nap Times with Pick-Up and Drop-Off of Older Siblings
Even though babies don’t go to school, they often need to come along to pick up or drop off for older siblings. For younger babies on three naps, this can be quite the challenge. Making sure your morning routine for you older kids (more on that below) is in place will go a long way to keeping morning routine smooth for baby.
Your primary focus for drop-off should be trying hard to get back home before baby’s first nap. If you have any flexibility in when to get your older child to school, aim to drop them off as early as possible. The later in the morning you leave for school, the more likely it is your baby will fall asleep in the car. If you haven’t yet sleep trained your baby, this isn’t a huge deal. But, if you have gone to great lengths to sleep train your baby to be an independent sleeper, then baby falling asleep in the car each morning can wreak havoc on their progress.
If they are assisted to sleep in the car each morning, they may struggle to fall asleep on their own. This goes for their other naps, bedtime, and when they wake naturally at night. Always check in with your partner to see if they can handle school drop off so you can stay at home with baby, or see about carpooling with friends.
If there is no other option time-wise and the car nap for baby is inevitable, then be diligent about baby getting their other daily naps at home, in their crib.
Pick-up should be treated similarly. Many schools have after-school programs your child may be able to attend so that you can schedule pick-up right after your baby’s nap. Always aim to leave the house right when baby wakes up. This reduces the likelihood that they’ll fall asleep in the car on the way home.
School-Aged Kids Morning Routines
I’m in the thick of this right now with my kids. With a middle schooler and a second grader, I’ve come up with a few things that make our mornings very smooth. First, for younger children (especially those that struggle with getting clothes on in the morning), have them change into their school clothes instead of pajamas. This has made an ENORMOUS difference in my household. My older daughter likes to wake up and dress herself, and she’s very good with time management. But, my younger son dilly dallies and requires me to stand over him to make sure he gets each article of clothing on. For him, we have banished pajamas. When he wakes up in the morning, besides eating breakfast, he is ready to go to school.
Also, try to make pack lunches the night before. I try to incorporate lunches into my dinner plans. And I always keep bread in the freezer so I can make peanut butter sandwiches when I’m completely out of food.
Finally, as I mentioned in my surprises about motherhood post, make sure you LOCK DOWN DEVICES, and shut off screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime. My younger son always begs to stay up later. His bedtime is 8:30, so each night around 8 pm I tell him he can stay up another 30 minutes…as long as he’s not on a personal device. We’ve often been watching our favorite family shows together after dinner. So this is an easy way for me to encourage him to transition from screen time to quiet down time. I do the same with my older daughter. I find an hour or so of no screen/quiet time before bed helps everyone sleep much better.
Routine for Mom
My phone calendar is my best technological-friend. With work and volunteer responsibilities, I do find myself quite busy. Yet I always block out time for things that matter to my personal well-being. I have set times each week where I block out time to exercise. Also, as soon as a date comes into my hands (for a PTA meeting, doctor’s appointment, or Back to School Night) I stop everything I’m doing and calendar it. I try to block out as much time as I can for every family activity, even if I’m not personally going to be there.
It’s very helpful for my husband and I to share a family calendar so he knows when our daughter is at rock climbing practice. Or when he’s at a doctor’s appointment. Or when I’ll be getting a haircut on a weekend. If something is going to occupy my time, or that of my child’s, it goes on my calendar. Then, each night before bed, I review the next day’s activities.
Almost everyone either has a love or hate relationship with routines. But, if you have babies and school-aged kids, routines are vital in order to maintain a chaos free household. With a little practice, everyone can enjoy the benefits of a smoothly running daily schedule.
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