Autumn usually brings about a change of pace along with the change of the seasons.

At this time of year, daily events can easily become fertile ground for epic battles of will: getting dressed and out of the house, drop-off at daycare or school, toileting, dinnertime and bedtime.

Each of these daily events represents some kind of transition — and when they are experiencing larger changes in their lives (new classroom, new bed, potty training, change in caregiver), children can feel an increased need for control around these smaller daily transitions.

Predictable routines are a parent’s best friend this time of year; they help children feel safe, reassuring them that some things will always stay the same in the face of any large or small life transition.

Integrating reading routines into your day can make sensitive transitions easier. Here are some suggestions:

The Morning Rush

Keep a basket of books for “quiet reading” in the area of the house where you need to prep things each morning (e.g., the kitchen). Get kids into the routine of having “quiet reading” time after breakfast while you finish getting everything ready for the day. This is also a lovely, calm way for children to start the day! Children as young as three years old can begin to do this independently. Books can also make the car ride to school or childcare more peaceful and focused.

Drop-off

If younger children are struggling with childcare or school drop-off, establish a routine of reading one book together before you say goodbye. The child can pick the book, but stick to just one! (Obviously, check with the play leader or teacher first to make sure this is okay.)

Toileting

Keep a basket of books in the bathroom to help make toileting a stress-free experience for children. Read a book aloud or allow the child to read on the potty. The more relaxed they are, the more likely they are to “do their business.”

Dinnertime

Turn dinnertime into family story and discussion time. Read a short book or portion of a book aloud at dinner and then talk about it together. Older kids can take turns reading aloud to the family.

Bedtime

And, of course, books can help with the routine at bedtime. Try as hard as you can to resist attempts at pulling you into a negotiation! Put a firm cap on the number of books you’ll read, and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later.

It’s not realistic to think that each of these routines will be a walk in the park every day, but “transitioning” even one daily battle into a bonding literacy experience will feel like a huge autumn win for everyone.


Find books to ease transitions for children of all ages

For Ages 0-2

August: First Feelings

For Ages 3-5

August: Just the Way You Are

For Ages 6-9

August: Growth Mindset

Find books to ease transitions for children of all ages

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