The morning rush
Getting your child to have a set bedtime can be an ordeal of sorts. But it’s crucial to instil the habit – children who have a good night’s sleep function better in school. “Parents should make it clear that bedtime is nonnegotiable,” says Janice Wan, psychotherapist from Alliance Professional Counselling LLP.
Your child should hit the sack at around the same time every night and clock in at least eight hours’ sleep, although 10 hours is the ideal. Keep the same bedtime on weekends too, to save the painful adjustments on Sunday night. To prevent a mad rush every morning, prep the night before: Pin badges and name tags on uniforms. Lay out clean socks. Learn Junior’s timetable by heart – does he have to wear his PE attire the next day? Does he have art or music lessons, and need to take along the relevant materials? Ensure these are accounted for, along with the daily bag-packing.
Make it a habit to ask your child every day if there are school memos he needs you to sign, payments to make, homework or changes in schedule to take note of, say, when the school celebrates Chinese New Year and he doesn’t have to bring all his books.
It’s also useful to note how much time your child needs to get ready for school. Some kids are able to get up and go, so they can have a few minutes of extra sleep. Others take awhile to get moving, and need an earlier call time.
Always set aside enough time for breakfast – it helps make them feel more alert and ready to leave for school. “Avoid having your child eat his or her breakfast in the car,” says Dr Lim Boon Leng, consultant psychiatrist from Gleneagles Medical Centre.
A space of his own
“Designate an area where your kids can work without getting distracted,” Janice suggests. Have his back to the TV, make sure there’s good lighting, and that the desk and chair are comfortable.
The space should be well stocked with supplies like pens,