Beat stress by planning your days this way

29 January 2015

A home that has routine helps children feel secure, says Sannie van Niekerk, a Pretoria pre-primary school teacher and member of the Professional Organiser Association Africa.

Although you don’t have to be militaristic about routine, being organised helps later when children have to prepare for exams. Here’s what she suggests:

- Giving orders and expecting children to carry them out isn’t realistic. Parents should show their children from an early age how to, for example, pack their schoolbags or fold their clothing after school.

- Involve your children in organisation from the start – ask them which schoolbag they want, for example.

- Make sure everything is ready for school the night before – that their uniform is on a hanger in the wardrobe, their schoolbag is packed and their lunchbox ready.

- Waking up in time. Empower your children by placing alarm clocks beside their beds at night. They’ll feel it’s also their responsibility to get up in time and will slowly learn to do it themselves.

- Their after-school routine depends on what you’re capable of. If you’re home in the afternoons make sure a routine is established. If your children are in aftercare, talk to the supervisor to find out how they go about doing things. For example, are there fixed times for homework and playing?

- It’s important for your kids to remove their school uniforms when they get home or go to aftercare. This teaches them that there’s a difference between school time and playtime.

- Make sure they relax for a while before starting homework. They should know 3 pm, for example, is homework time.

- Make time to talk to your children about their day. Share what your day was like to avoid coming across like the police interrogating them.

- Set up a place where they can do their homework. This helps to distinguish there’s a place for work and one for play.

- It’s never too late to help your children get into a routine. It might take a little more work if they’re already in high school but if you approach the matter with empathy and involve your children you will all benefit.

By Shane Barnard

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