My eldest child is very active so he needs a calm and easy evening routine to wind himself down. By the time we get home from school he is tired, hungry and sometimes grumpy. Having an evening routine that he knows how tp follow during the school week gives him control of the situation. He knows what is going to happen throughout the evening, but he still has the opportunity to make his own choices.
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Step 1 – Getting Changed
First he changes out of his uniform and washes his hands. I think this helps him to see that the school day is over and starts his evening routine. It also stops him from ruining his school uniform or spreading any school germs around the house.
Step 2 – Snack Time
If he is really hungry he will have a small healthy snack because it is nearly dinner time. I also encourage him to have a drink because he doesn’t drink much while he is at school.
Step 3 – Free Play
We have free play where he can choose whatever he likes so he can unwind from the day. He is allowed a set amount of screen time and he can choose to have it now if he wants to. I use this time to make the dinner and do anything else I need to do.
Step 4 – Dinner Time
We sit down as a family around the kitchen table when daddy gets home from work. While we eat our dinner we like to all tell each other a good bit of the day. By modelling this behaviour for him, it has encouraged my son to be more open and we now find out all sorts of interesting and funny things about his day.
Step 5 – Reading and Homework
When he’s had some time to relax and some food he will usually do his book bag. We do this before bedtime so he can enjoy his own books as part of his bedtime routine and not have to do school reading books. We will read his books, do any homework and learn his spellings. Then I fill in his partnership book and he chooses a sticker for his book (he loves to do this). We try to spend this time with him everyday, just 15 minutes. I don’t always manage it, some days he really is just too tired. On these days I try to do one really quick two minute activity with him such as checking he knows three of his keywords.
Step 5 – Bath Time
Both of my children love water and can be in the bath for ages so I leave plenty of time to play. Then we get our pyjamas on, have a vitamin and clean our teeth.
Step 7 – Bedtime and Story time
We turn on the Groclock and nightlight as part of the bedtime routine. We read two books and have a cuddle in bed. Then leave him with his door partly open to put himself to sleep. If he has trouble falling asleep he will look at a book or listen to a story CD for ten minutes on his own. I have found it a much calmer bedtime if he thinks he has some control over when he is going to sleep.