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Returning to routine will benefit kids, lower stress for parents, pediatrician says

A Charlotte-area pediatrician says the transition to full-time learning may seem scary, but it will prove beneficial for stressed out kids and their parents.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After a chaotic year of learning from home and out-of-whack schedules, school is finally back in session.

Starting Monday, middle and high school students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will return to class four days a week under Plan A learning. This schedule will remain in place until next month, when CMS moves to full-time in-person learning. 

Dr. Gretchen Coady, a pediatrician at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina, told WCNC Charlotte the routine that comes with school is exactly what kids need. 

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"For kids, they can control very little of their day so routine for them is one of the most important things that helps them feel like life is normal even when it’s not normal," Coady said. 

Coady said in these not-so-normal times, having a set schedule for your kids can make life less scary. 

"It does not have to be fancy and you don't have to overdo it, but every little bit you add into the routine and help them predict how the day is going to go is helping them feel more secure and then they'll behave better," Coady said. 

But how do you go from the relaxed rules of learning from home to the much more regimented schedule of full-time school?

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Coady said start small and build from there.

“I would start your routine with helping them in the evening get ready for school the next day. (Ask the questions) Is their school bag packed? Do they have lunch packed? Are their clothes laid out for the next morning?" Coady said. "That gives them a good routine of what to expect in the morning and it also makes you, as a parent, it makes your morning easier because their stuff is all ready to go.”

And parents, remember to give yourself some grace. It may take a minute to get back into the groove but don’t give up on creating that routine because what’s good for your kids is also good for you.

“Make the routine to make your life as a parent easier because when you are less stressed as a parent, you will be a better parent to your kids," Coady said.

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