“I’m so ready” is the phrase most often repeated these days by teachers, parents, administrators, and even students. Educators across the country are ready to return to some sense of normalcy. Parents recognize the value of teachers and the magnitude of the pressure on their shoulders. Teachers miss hugs and smiling faces greeting them in the mornings. And everyone misses the learning and recognizes the missed opportunities brought on by the pandemic.
But what now? A year after virtual learning, frozen computer screens, mixed with quarantining—the time to return to school and needing a pencil and paper is finally here again! How can you ensure you’ve positioned your son, daughter, or student for success? The answer is easy: Begin with Rituals and Routines.
Rituals and routines are those necessary actions that create purpose and organization, and when done so frequently, they become innate. For example, when I walk into a meeting, the first thing I say is “Good morning” and take out my paper and pen to take notes. When I’m driving and want to change lanes, I turn on my signal light—without thought—to notify other drivers I’m moving in front of them. Both are necessary actions that serve a purpose and are done in a specified order. How does this relate to children?
Children need to know what’s expected of them, and what better way to provide a level playing field than by being intentional in your approach? For example, parents wake their children each morning for school at about the same time so they don’t miss the bus. This is a routine. The ritual of walking to the bus stop at the same time ensures you’re at the bus stop before the bus arrives. The tardy bell ringing at the same time is a routine and if it catches you not in class, you serve detention. The homework assigned that fosters further learning at home is a ritual most students have come to anticipate, whether they complete the assignments or not.
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