Children in care often come from inconsistent and tumultuous backgrounds, making it difficult to adjust to new environments. Establishing routines is an essential part of the transition process. This enables your child in care to feel safe, secure, and at ease in their new home.
You can set your family up for success by implementing consistent routines and making your home feel more welcoming.
Here are a few crucial routines to implement:
One of the most critical routines to establish is a morning routine. A few areas to consider when establishing a healthy morning routine are:
Explain that a consistent wake-up time sets the tone for the day ahead. Ensure that your
child wakes up with plenty of time to get ready, pack, and prepare for a new day at school. Be sure to communicate the wake-up time with your child in care and explain how they will be woken up (i.e., an alarm clock, a gentle touch to the shoulder, etc.) to avoid any surprises or overwhelm.
Setting your child up for success:
There are a few ways you can set your child up for success for the day. Making the bed is a simple task that can help your child start their day positively. You can also encourage your child in care to practice gratitude by focusing on three things they are thankful for each morning. You could even discuss the things you are grateful for together, creating space for deeper connecting. Packing for school is also essential, as it helps your child feel more prepared for the day ahead.
Don't forget breakfast! It's the most important meal of the day, and a nutritious breakfast can improve children's concentration, focus, and energy levels throughout the day. If you’re unsure what to serve for breakfast, we have some ideas for you here.
Discussing the day ahead can also help your child feel more at ease. Details you should consider sharing with them include:
● Getting to and from school
● What time school begins and ends (if this is a new school/school year for them)
● Whether they will be attending any extracurricular activities
● Ask if they have any questions, hesitations, or concerns they want to discuss before the school day.
A consistent evening routine is just as important as a strong morning routine. A few critical areas for establishing a healthy evening routine are:
Getting ready for bed:
Help your child understand the process of getting ready for bed. This should include evening activities such as showering, brushing teeth, and changing into comfortable pajamas that encourage high-quality sleep.
Educate your child on the importance of sleeping at a reasonable and consistent hour each night. Discussing bedtimes in advance helps manage the child’s expectations and also helps them establish a regular sleep schedule, leading to higher energy and concentration levels throughout the day.
Establishing some regular evening activities, such as reading a book or listening to calming music, can help your child unwind and relax before sleep. You could even try a guided meditation on an app like Insight Timer. Check out our list of toys and lighting that help regulate a child’s emotions and anxiety levels by clicking here.
An evening debrief is an excellent way for your child to express concerns or worries before sleeping. Implementing a check-in system allows your child to share their positive and negative experiences of the day, how they're feeling, and unload what’s on their mind before sleeping. Establishing this evening debrief also helps you and your child build trust. They must understand that they can communicate with you when things are going great and when things are challenging.
It’s common for children in care to come from inconsistent or unsupportive backgrounds. Therefore, it’s likely that your child in care may have never been told the importance of completing homework assignments on time. Building a homework routine is a great way to avoid confusion or stress around homework. Here are a few factors to consider when making a homework routine:
Instead of simply asking your child to complete their homework because their teacher said so, try explaining the importance of homework and turning assignments in on time. Discuss how this builds healthy habits and can create a positive future for them academically and professionally. This is an excellent way to help your child understand the significance of homework and motivate them to complete their assignments on time.
Establish homework windows:
Homework windows can help your child manage their time more effectively and avoid procrastination. For example, homework windows might be from 4:30 to 5:30 pm before dinner and from 7:30 to 8:30 pm before bed.
Give them support:
Many children in care come from families where they’ve never received support or guidance on homework. You need to provide this support and ensure they understand they can ask for your help with their homework assignments. Designating a specific area for studying or providing necessary resources such as paper, pencils, colors, dictionaries, or calculators can also help your child feel more successful and supported.
Build a homework process:
Implementing a homework ‘submit and review’ process can help you keep track of your child's progress and provide feedback to help them improve.
Establishing routines is crucial for children in care. These routines help create a sense of stability, security, and consistency for your child, helping them feel more at ease in their new environment. By implementing the morning, evening, and homework routines, you can help your child adjust more quickly, set them up for success, and create a supportive home for your new family member to thrive.