Jennifer McConnell, Head of School
October can bring the first signs of Fall …and also the beginning of everyone feeling back into the swing of things when it comes to school. With goal-setting conferences in the elementary program and routines in place for our infant/toddler and Early Childhood Program, your child may be feeling a little more comfortable transitioning from a relaxed summer schedule to the structure of a school regime.
Of course, it’s totally understandable for children to have some days when they’re reminiscing about the relaxed days of summer – even grown-ups feel like that! To make school mornings easier and help your MCH student move more easily into the structured school year schedule, consider one or more of these “Get Into The Groove” tips:
Set a regular bedtime and regular wake up time
Although it seems easier to sleep in now that the mornings are darker than in the summer months, having an established wake time can help “reprogram” your child’s inner clock. I find building in at least 15 minutes in the morning for those unexpected things to come up (i.e.: “I can’t find my shoes!”) can help make mornings just that much smoother and maintain everyone’s peace of mind.
Supply your child with an alarm clock (they can even pick it out the clock!) and together decide a realistic wake up time. This way, you can empower your child to be an active part in the School Groove. Making your child responsible for waking up on their own is one way to create a sense of accountability, establish personal authority in your child – and can really be a big help to parents who are trying to get themselves ready for the day.
Create a visual schedule for the bedtime routine and weekday morning expectations; and ask your child to help you make it. That way, your child can physically see the routine and be prepared for what’s expected of them. Your young child may love seeing the visual representation of them getting up, brushing their teeth, eating breakfast and going to school. For an older student, having a checklist in a common area (bathroom, kitchen, maybe even posted on their closet door) lays out their responsibilities and gives them a feeling of satisfaction once they’re able to check off the item when it has been completed.
By having a detailed list – with visuals – of your morning schedule can help your MCH student make the connection to what’s expected of them and what each school morning physically looks like. The more you prepare your MCH student the better.
Talk it out
When you put your child to bed at night, share with them plans for the next day. Ask them their opinion on the best way to get things done, what you should do first, and what their goals are for the following day.
Check the weather app
Involve your child in the “getting ready for school” process by asking them to pick out their outfit the night before school. Not only can this prevent the morning scramble (i.e. “Where’s my red shirt??!”) but solidifies the connection that, yes, there is school tomorrow and yes, we need to prepare for it.
Have the weather app on your phone and together, look at tomorrow’s forecast. Then your child can decide what outfit would be best for them – if it’s cold, something warmer, and if it’s hot, lighter layers.
Placing the MCH backpack by your front door and having lunchboxes ready to go in the refrigerator can signal to your child that school is happening and it’s their responsibility to bring these things with them the next day.
There’s much to look forward to for October at MCH. In addition to being fully engrained in the school groove, we have HarvestFest, a free, family event. This October event will have our traditional MCH Pumpkin Patch (sponsored by the MCH Parent Association [MCHPA],) carnival-style games and prizes (including a Fishing Pond, ring toss and face painting) and my personal favorite, a Cake Walk!
Thank you for being a part of the MCH community! I can’t wait to see what fun and personal growth is in store for your MCH student.