There is power in addressing students’ needs from a variety of angles. I have seen the effect parents, teachers, medical professionals, guidance counselors, therapists and children themselves have when they come together to work on a child’s behavioral and emotional issues; it is profound. This philosophy has inspired me to change the format of my blog. The new format should appeal to more stakeholders in our children’s lives and provide readers with more specific, tailored strategies. I’m excited to share the plan with you.
There will be one relevant, high-impact topic each month. These topics address issues I see teachers, parents and children experiencing daily. Challenges such as anxiety, defiance and ADHD are difficult for everyone but can be managed with a comprehensive approach.
There will be weekly posts related to this same topic each month. Each post will be geared toward a different audience.
- Week 1 will provide an overview of the topic along with research and personal success stories from parents, teachers and children themselves.
- Week 2 is for teachers. It will contain helpful strategies and resources that can be used in the classroom.
- Week 3 will be written for parents. I’ll share tips and tricks to try at home, along with some links to additional resources.
- Week 4 is for children. It will be in video format and will contain a story related to the monthly theme and activities for children to do at home.
This new format will allow us to dig deeper into these issues and address them from all angles. Not one of us can do it alone, but imagine the benefits to our children if we work together on their behalf. The effects will could be exponential.
I’m always open to your monthly topic ideas. This is meant to be a resource that is meaningful to you. Please share some challenges you’re facing and I’d love to address them in this new format.
Share this post with teacher friends and parents you think may be interested. They can subscribe by using the link at the bottom of the page. They’ll receive all new posts by email on Sundays. So, let’s get started.
Today’s post is about routines. It’s certainly relevant as we prepare our children for a return to school, especially this year, when we’re expected to transition frequently between traditional and virtual learning.
I struggled when school buildings closed down last spring and working from home became the new normal. My days were turned upside down. There was no more 7:15 morning commute with my usual podcast or rushing in the building at 7:40 for the 7:45 meeting. My days were no longer punctuated by school bells and the strict schedules of specialists, lunch and recess times. Everything seemed loose and free. I liked it in the beginning. It felt open to possibility and like I had some control of my time.
But soon I felt out of control. I never knew what I was supposed to be doing at any particular time. The to do list felt endless with no real plan for getting the items accomplished. My mind was constantly spinning. I was either getting too much sleep or not enough, depending on how I ran my day. And eating patterns – yikes! I think we can all agree that being home without a schedule leads to a whole lot of snacking. I missed my routine. In fact, I craved a routine and I worked hard to establish a new one, a new normal.
According to an article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, “Routine is consistently found to be important for children. A bedtime routine is associated with increased family functioning and improved sleep habits. Family routines have been linked to the development of social skills and academic success, and adherence to family routines has been identified as important for family resilience during times of crisis. However, the importance of routine is not unique to children. Observational research indicates that individuals in good health engage in highly routine health behaviors.”1
Debbie Miller, author of ‘Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades,’ and a thirty year veteran of the Denver Public Schools, explains the benefits of routines in her book. We can actually be more creative and insightful when routines are in place. The structure allows us to free ourselves from thinking about what we’re going to do next, and instead concentrate and put all our energy into the task at hand.2
Experience and research show that routines are important to children and help them feel safe and productive. The best way to help children develop routines is for teachers and parents to establish routines for themselves. We all benefit in the end. So how do we do this? Which routines are important and which can we let go of when we need to be flexible? I’ll address these topics in the following weeks, first with teachers in mind, then some thoughts for parents, and, finally, some suggestions for children themselves.
My goals for this new blog structure are to help us provide a comprehensive approach to meeting our children’s needs and to provide myself with a writing routine to facilitate our process.
- Arlinghaus, K. R., & Johnston, C. A. (2018). The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 13(2), 142–144. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827618818044
- Miller, D. (2002). Reading with meaning: Teaching comprehension in the primary grades. Portland, Me: Stenhouse Publishers.