Returning to daycare, school or work after a vacation can be unsettling. There are a few things you can do before and during the return to routine to make family life a little smoother.
Talk to your kids. Explain what’s coming up, as well as how and when it will happen. Listen to their fears and answer their questions.
Get ready a few days before returning to the “new normal” by altering your habits. Wake up your kids up and put them to bed at former routine hours and try to respect meal and snack times as well.
Despite your family’s new pace, earmark some moments during the day to go outside with your children and spend quality time together. They likely appreciated all the extra time with you during vacation and may be disappointed to lose these family moments. Involve your kids by asking them which family activities they would like to maintain as part of their new routine. These might be easily integrated into everyday life.
Are you afraid your mornings might be chaotic after weeks of not having to rush the kids (or yourself)? Go over the morning tasks with your kids or hang up a routine chart (photos or pictograms, for example). Clearly outline the steps of this routine to give them a sense what’s coming and to make everyday life more pleasant for the whole family.
Lighten your routine for the first few weeks by cooking meals in advance, choosing your kids’ clothing in the evening, planning lunches, etc. This will allow you to ease into your new pace without making a complete turnabout after your vacation.
Perhaps the vacations have given you the opportunity to get back to the basics, to be more present for your children and to enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life. If you fall back into a fast-paced routine, try to remember those quieter moments and take a break for an evening, a day, on weekends or even just a few hours. It’s better for the whole family!