The nicest thing about holidays is the lack of routine. Not having to get everyone fed, dressed and rushed out the door by a certain time is pure bliss! But the worst part about holidays is also the lack of routine. When 9.30pm bedtimes have become the norm, you know you’re going to have a battle on your hands when daycare/school/work and just normal life resumes.
If you’re like me, you may have let your relaxed holiday vibe nudge everyone off the routine wagon. And as soon as holidays come to an end and suddenly life is all time-based again, you’ll wish you never let it slip.
Dinner at the beach? Yep, sure, that would be sooooo nice. Never mind that it’s already 7pm and the kids won’t be in bed until at least 9pm. It’s the holidays. They can just sleep in longer in the morning or be grizzly and fall asleep while driving to some fun thing tomorrow. Ah the holidays. The beautiful, routine-sapping holidays.
Like the rest of us, I’ve enjoyed a lovely summer break. My kids have too … maybe too much. They’ve enjoyed more late bedtimes than I’d like to admit thanks to movie nights on the living room floor or because they are simply not tired when they ordinarily would be. They’ve swam at the beach most days and fallen asleep in the car on the drive home because we haven’t made it back in time for day sleeps in the cot. They’ve had takeaway sushi for lunch while out because I’m also out of routine and haven’t done the shopping.
But here’s the thing. Normal life has resumed now and that routine I’d so carefully installed to keep us all sane and running on time when life revolves around work, daycare, playgroup, appointments and so forth, needs to come back. My kids need it to cope and so do I. Here’s my ‘get us back on track’ game plan.
6 things to start doing now
Getting back into routine after the holidays is a bit like transitioning everyone to daylight savings. It isn’t a case of saying, “OK, now you go to bed at 7pm again, kids.” It takes a bit of time, tweaking and perseverance to ease them back in.
1. Wind bedtimes back in 15 minute increments
The first thing I need to sort is my kids’ sleep habits. Skipping day sleeps only to fall asleep in the car in the late afternoon and then going to bed stupidly late is a bad habit we are in.
To combat this, I will do the daylight savings 15 minute interval trick. This means, I will start winding my kids bedtimes back by 15 minutes, even if they aren’t quite tired enough each day until we are back to where we should be.
2. Start the day on time
The second thing I need to do is to start waking up my little ones up in the morning, even if this means they will be crotchety with me. This will hopefully reset their body clock and I’ll start to see normal wake up times soon.
3. Be home for day sleeps
I know that for my youngest to get back into his day-sleep-at-home routine we need to be home from our morning activity before lunch time. Any later than this and I risk him falling asleep in the car again. This means getting home by 11.30am. That way we’ll have time to make lunch and hopefully he’ll be in bed by around 12.30pm.
4. Get on top of MY routine
In order to help my kids get back into routine, I need to as well. This means getting on top of my shopping so we have food in the fridge for meals and stop eating while out. It also means folding the washing and just being a little more domestic overall. It’s boring but I know I need to do it.
5. Start talking about normal life again
As part of ‘project get routine back’ I will chat to my boys about going back to daycare and mummy and daddy returning to work. When it comes to any change at all, I find my kids cope better when I give them lots of preparation. This means talking to them about what’s going to happen and involving them in things like buying new kindy hats because we lost theirs on holidays.
6. Give it a week
As well as doing all of the above, I am going to give us a week to adjust. It’s hard on everyone to slot back into life after holidays, so I’ll give us a little leeway. We may not nail it in a day, but seven should do the trick.