I had forgotten how hard the transition back to routine can be.
We were smart and the kids stayed on the same basic schedule over the summer as they do during the school year. Bedtime, waking time, out the door time remained constant.
But there were still transitions that occurred and it got UGLY last night!
The first week of school was a 3 day week. Jeff was off to fight dragons and hangout with Wil Wheaton as a True Dungeon Dungeon Director at GenCon so I had the kids and their routines all to myself. And it really went pretty smoothly.
Last night was our first school night with all of us in the home and having to do our school night routine. Teagan had homework. Zach needed a bath. We had dinner out. Daddy handled the pick ups from school at the end of the day.
There was an undercurrent of some chaos because we didn't know who was doing what. We will soon fall into a pattern and have expectations but we aren't there yet.
And it resulted in two very tired children hitting the wall at the same time- right at the "lay down and get tucked in" point of the bedtime routine. Screaming, crying, yelling. (Them, not me. But I was tempted to join in- it seemed very cathartic.) And eventually, we separated them to different rooms and let them cry themselves to sleep.
My blood pressure definitely took some spikes last night. The irrational meltdown doesn't sit well with me. I don't appreciate it as a response. Logically, I understand that the meltdown isn't a true response to what is happening right now- it's a build up of anxiety or whatever. I get that. But when it happens, it sparks my own emotional response and I will say that I am not proud of how I typically react.
One of my parenting strengths is figuring out that there is an issue and putting a system in place to fix it. And I think the main thing we have to do is make sure the routine is filled with set expectations of what has to get done each evening.
We keep a corkboard at kid level in our hallway next to the kids' bedroom. It's where I post anything that needs the family's attention. Over the summer, we kept a schedule sow e knew what each person had going on day to day. We've used it for chore charts, too.
And now I'm going to add a "Start the School Year Right" list so that everyone in the family knows how the evening is supposed to move along.
What tools do you use to keep your family or yourself on task and on track when dealing with transitions?
(This is also hugely pertinent to my current work situation as we are in a huge state of transition due to layoffs and massive computer system changes- both of which have major impact on the work I do each day.)