KN Counseling Newsletter
CHARACTER WORD OF THE MONTH:
KNE - Amie Wheeler & WE - Jennifer Watson
KNMS - Heather Wallace & Taylor Morrison
September Counseling Calendar:
6th Grade - September 15th & 16th
7th Grade - September 19th & 21st
8th Grade - September 26th & 28th
Topics: Mental Health & Mindfulness
Upcoming: Signs of Suicide - First Week of October
S2S First Friday - September 2nd during Advisory
(This is an event for all new students as a fun check-in)
KNHS - Hailee Wickham & Leslie Lambkin
- September ACT Date - September 20th Deadline was August 5th
- October ACT Date - October 22nd Deadline is September 16th
- Signs of Suicide Presentation: TBD
**If you are in need of an ACT Fee Waiver please contact Hailee Wickham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your KNHS Counselors send out weekly emails with a variety of amazing opportunities for students! Encourage your child to look at those in case one would be a great fit for them!
Home Discussion - Routines
What is a ROUTINE?
Here are daily routines that are often helpful to have:
- Morning – In my house, this is the most crucial routine we have. I am no longer involved in my boys getting ready in the morning and it’s glorious.
- After School –Is it only me or does your house feel like a circus complete with acrobats when your kids get home from school?
- Chore Schedules
- Play and Family Time
Because I don’t want to be more controlling than I already tend to be, we pretty much focus on having a solid morning and bedtime routine and chore schedules to allow for creativity and a little freedom.
Why are Routines Important?
Routines are important for both kids and parents because they create predictability which leads to security and can aid in developing self-discipline.
There is so much change in a child’s life that having some kind of daily structure can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Starting off the day knowing exactly what needs be done versus running around the house like your hair is on fire or you’re being chased by an angry monkey (you pick!) can set the tone for a much calmer and more productive day for you and your kids. And it feels good!
Dr. Laura Markham, author of many books I recommend and founder of Aha! Parenting says, “Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively control themselves and their environments.”
Kids who don’t have set times or places to get mundane tasks done have a tougher time learning to do the same when they are grown. Also, I can attest to not really having much of a self-care routine during my childhood (mainly because my parents working hard and not at home) which has resulted in a tougher time developing healthy habits as an adult.
We want our kids to thrive as adults which include brushing their teeth, wiping their butts (I’m not even kidding) and eating healthy without being told to do so. If they are capable of creating a routine that is easy to follow, these things can be done on autopilot and without any hesitation.
Benefits of Routines
Routines are helpful to both adults and kids and for our relationship with each other. Since implementing a morning and evening routine, I no longer turn purple from saying, “Put your shoes on” or “brush your teeth” over and over and over AND over again.
I barely have to repeat myself (even having a kid with ADHD which is a feat in itself!) which helps me treat my kids with kindness creating a stronger connection with them.
The Brain Benefits of Routines:
- Our brains become more happy by increasing certainty. Whenever people face uncertainty, the amygdala (the responsible party for fight, flight or freeze) is engaged. Routines help us know what to expect keeping our bodies calm and more alert.
- We can think more clearly. The prefrontal cortex (the thinker brain) houses executive functions which allow people to organize, plan, self regulate and get tasks done. This part of the brain tends to tire more easily if used a lot. Establishing routines helps our brain store those tasks in our basal ganglia which is where our habits are stored freeing up space in our prefrontal cortex allowing us to have a clear mind so we can do new tasks and be creative in other areas. Wowzas! That was one heck of a run-on sentence so you may want to read it again *wink.
- Our energy levels won’t be depleted as easy. | The Ego-Depletion effect is that feeling you get after completing tasks all day long. After a long hard day, the reason you get the feeling of wanting to curl up on the couch and watch Netflix is that you use up all your limited amount of willpower (and self-control). Having routines can conserve our self-control and energy.
- We can lose fewer things. | I love organization and to be organized but because I’m always thinking of the next thing (and probably because I have three little people with different wants all at the same time), I lose things…a lot. By putting simple routines into place, I can better keep track of things. For example, hanging up my keys in the same place every day as soon as I walk in the house has helped tremendously. Now, if I could put a routine in place on where I place my phone….
Before I get into how to create a routine, I want to bring up the topic of autonomy. So often in parenting, by default, we have our own agendas for our kids to follow without any collaboration. We are the CEO and we treat our kids with a top-down approach.
What if we allowed them to make their own decisions with the amount of guidance they need?
I mention this because allowing your kids to create their own routines and then follow through on those themselves can develop a strong sense of autonomy. Kids are then able to develop problem-solving skills and great emotional well-being which will be beneficial for a lifetime.
When kids feel capable of making their own choices, the learning that occurs is invaluable. By doing this, kids can also realize the importance of family values, rules and how to be a good human being.
In creating a routine, instead of handing over what you think is best, guide them carefully to choose what works for them and for the family.
Ways to Create a Routine Chart
- Draw one! My nieces talked to their mom about what should be on their morning routine chart and then drew pictures for each of the tasks. They enjoyed making a special creation that they could use daily.
- Make one on the computer. Use a program like Word or Canva and allow your kid to pick his or her own clip art.
- Use a stuffed animal or favorite toy. This is a great suggestion for kids who have sensory challenges or prefer soft things to touch. Attach the tasks to different parts of the toy that the child will follow in a specific order.
- Use a chalkboard or whiteboard. If you have a place in your home with a chalkboard or whiteboard, put the routine on there for a reference for your kids. This can easily be changed as well.
- Search for a pre-made one that you can customize.