Routines at home make for a strong school year

This time of year is full of new gear and attitudes: new backpacks & supplies, new school clothes and hopefully a successful – I can do it!” attitude.  When on the cancer journey or grief journey, life can oftentimes be exhausting and important routines might fall through the cracks.

Routines is the key word in establishing a strong home environment…leading to a strong & successful year.  We all do better when we can anticipate and predict what’s coming up.  Routines actually are one step to allow all of us to be better prepared.  Routines allow kids (of all ages) to feel particularly safe in their own environment. Kids who practice routines in their younger and teen years take these into their college years and future careers. 

Consider three general time periods of the day to establish routines: morning, afterschool and evening/bedtime. Believe it or not, these are easiest to think about backwards starting with evenings. How we end our day has direct implications for how we start each day! 

Evening Routines:  How do you figure out how much sleep your youngster or teen needs – or even yourself?  LeBron James, the most popular NBA star of our time not only has a 27 pts per game average BUT averages 12 hours of sleep daily!  Stanford University published their study: The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players (Sleep. 2011 Jul 1;34(7):943-50. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1132).  During their study, collegiate players had the goal of 10 hours in bed! Just imagine if you had 10 hours of sleep last night!  Wow!

For a fun article of LeBron’s sleep & eating habits see: On His Day Off: LeBron James.  LeBron has found a direct correlation between his basketball shooting accuracy, success and SLEEP!  Reading this quick blog is enough to encourage all adults to hit the hay earlier! This short blog also address some of LeBron’s eating habits and the kids will love the photo of LeBron practicing yoga!   There’s lots of evidence out there to decrease “screen time” before bed time…you make the call.

So now that we have sleep covered, back up bedtime to plan a quiet evening of completing homework.  Design a strict routine of putting all school work in the backpack & the backpack by the door you exit in the morning.  (Too many kids work hard on homework and then never turn it in).  Nighttime is the perfect time to get the kitchen ready for breakfast: have your students set out their place for breakfast and maybe choose their cereal and put out any non-perishable foods.  If your kids “pack,” have the lunches made & all set in the frig for a “grab & go.”  

Research with state testing and college entrance exams prove that kids who eat breakfast automatically score higher points than kids who don’t!  An apple and protein bar on the run will truly make a difference!  TGP nutrition & family programs have made Energy Balls (a non-cook high protein delicious snack or breakfast ball) which can be made on weekends and kept in the freezer. You can check out the recipe here. Don’t forget to have your student choose what they are wearing and set this out in their room.

Morning Routines: “easy peasy” since your student has their breakfast set out, clothes set out, backpack/school bag by the door!  And maybe they’ve had enough sleep that they could play like an NBA star!

Afterschool Routines: Getting homework out of the way is a huge practice!  Homework Done!” are magical words that set a tone for the rest of day! Getting playtime is also important.  If your child has extracurricular activities at school or in the community – make a carpool plan to take the load off yourself and ensure that he/she gets there!  Don’t be embarrassed to set these up!  Maybe you can only provide a ride certain days of the week…ask around, ask a coach or group leader to help you make connections. 

Chores are part of routines so make sure you establish table setting, minor meal prep, turning on a crock pot, taking care of a pet, etc.  If you are a working parent, be sure to leave fun notes out for your youngster, along with an after school snack!

Relaxing together or downtime can be fun.  Don’t forget about family game night, so plan ahead with some table games, or maybe have your kids play “Stump the Parent” as they quiz you for their quiz or test!

Family Calendars are a must.  Have teens develop a Google Calendar with you to track their work schedules and extracurricular activities!

TGP’s KidShop/TeenShop and Bridges are always reinforcing all of the above for your students! Check out the dates and times for our meetings or email/call Casey Durkin, Children & Family Program Director at or 216-455-1523.



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