The wonderful thing about raising twins is getting to do everything twice.
The crazy thing about raising twins is getting to do everything twice.
So while I only have two years of school age wisdom under my belt, it feels like we’ve actually been through four years — since each girl is in a different classroom. Yes, we choose to separate and if you met my girls you would understand why. They need that time to be themselves and shine on their own without being treated as a unit.
The first year going into Kindergarten, I went above and beyond to plan everything. I had so many expectations.
And then when it all started, I realized … I had so little time at the end of the day with them. In fact, I have never been more busy as a mother than I have since my girls started school. School just increases the workload by at least double.
What we’ve created as our school year rules and routines are really very simple and I’d like to share some of what we do with you below. This is a partial list of what we do to stay connected as a family. This is how we embrace learning. And this is how we stay peaceful and present. It doesn’t always work. Some weeks are just, well, crazy.
Here are some peaceful boundaries for school days to consider in your home:
Say No — The first year, I thought I’ll do everything — every fundraiser, every event, every social function. The second year, I thought I’ll do mostly every fundraiser, mostly every event and mostly ever social function. You can probably detect what I’m thinking this year. Everyone will be just fine if they miss an event. This may even include a few birthday party invitations if the timing just doesn’t work for our family.
Go Easy on the Kids — I have spent enough time in the classroom over the last two years to confidently say that our children work harder in school than most adults do at work. So, take it easy on them. If they seem cranky and tired it’s because they are and you need to be gentle and walk with ease into your evening routines.
Make Homework Fun! — I wish I could get a temporary tattoo made with this and hand it out to parents who complain that their kids won’t do their homework. Set up a special homework spot with fun art materials and lots of very sharp pencils. Play very soft, gentle music. Pop some popcorn. And work next to your children. This can be one of the best times of your day together. And, you’re on hand to help if that’s needed. Of course, you have to figure out the time that suits your child, too. If they are too tired or hungry, they won’t cooperate.
Stop Comparing — Every child is different. What one family places an emphasis on at home will be vastly different than another. Your child will learn at their own pace and that is perfectly wonderful. Love your child unconditionally, anyway. Make positive statements and celebrate even the small progress. Seek out their strengths but don’t ever box them in to being good at only one thing or one kind of learner. They will surprise you.
Set Effective Rules — We have a no-TV on school night’s rule. It’s a very serious rule. After long days in school, and homework, there’s just not enough time for TV, family time, dinner and active time outside. When you explain all of that to children they usually understand. We also don’t allow any screens in the mornings. This works for us because it eliminates arguments.
Write Up Your Routines — We write the morning and afternoon routines on paper and put it where the kids can read it. You could even doodle the routines along the side for special effect. Our routines are a framework and not a textbook, especially for the afternoons. So long as they get everything done, the order doesn’t matter. The consistency becomes something they look forward to — and that routine is good for the whole family.
How do you plan to create peaceful boundaries and routines this school year?