Welcome to 2018! If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks might have thrown you a little off course - bedtimes are later, you (and kids) are sleeping in, pumpkin pie is a legitimate breakfast option, and days are filled with either fun activities or space to do a whole lot of nothing (in your pajamas, of course). It’s all too easy to fall into the “no plan” plan - which is great for vacation - but not so sustainable for everyday living. As the holidays come to a close, it can be really hard to get back into the swing of things, and returning to school and work can be even more challenging when there’s no routine or structure to fall back on.
As for all humans, the “unknown” can be very scary. Not knowing is hard! When we don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen next, we might feel anxious, tight, angry, or notice a desire to control things (or others). There’s only one constant about life - that it is constantly changing - and the unknown lurks around every corner. For kids, especially, there is constant change both within and around them, and they often have little control over the change that is occurring. No wonder so many kids struggle with anxiety!
A structured, consistent routine provides a sense of safety and mastery. Especially during large transitions (like going back to school after three weeks of family, friends, play, and gingerbread men), it helps them to know when things are happening, what to expect, and what is expected of them. Lack of structure and routine can lead to anxiety, tantrums, lack of impulse-control, challenges with attention and concentration, and a general overactive nervous system. For kids and adults alike, routine makes life (more) predictable and creates a safe container in which the normal ups and downs of life can be managed and processed.
A regular schedule helps children l