A smooth-sailing morning and you’re all ready to tackle whatever the day brings. A mad rush out the door clutching a breakfast bar, papers flying and shoes untied, and you’ll all need a nap by noon. A well-planned morning routine helps children handle problems, perform in school, and get along with others far better than if they start the day rushed and unorganized.
Parents can plan out a morning routine, writing down a detailed schedule of what needs to be done in the morning and how it can be done with a minimum of stress.
A well-planned morning routine…
If your family’s morning routine is rushed, chaotic, and full of frustration, you should first be evaluating exactly what is happening in the mornings. What are the key things that get your attention and get you angry? A child who won’t get out of bed until the third call? A child who takes 10 minutes to put on his socks? Identify these situations and start responding to them in ways that will get your children to change their behaviors.
Here are some tips for streamlining your morning routine into a smooth ride for the entire family.
Get enough sleep.
No matter how well organized your morning routine is, you need to be well-rested to handle it. The first key to a great morning is to have had enough sleep. If you don’t already have a good bedtime routine for your kids, get one. Get up before your children. In order to lead the children in an efficient morning, parents need to be awake and ready to start the day ahead of time.
Set things out the night before.
Have your kids pick out what they’re going to wear and set out their clothes. Get completed homework back in the backpacks before they go to bed. Set out gym backs, forms, musical instruments, and anything they need to take to school.
Do as much as you can the night before.
Encourage your kids to shower the night before instead of in the morning, especially the slow-pokes. Pack lunches the night before and keep them in the frig, ready to grab and go.
Schedule an extra 10 minutes of wake-up time. If you’ve scheduled your kids’ morning down to the minute, build in at least a few extra minutes of cushion time, for them to get out of bed and get moving.
Give them a reward for “smooth mornings.”
Tell your kids if they can get through a morning without yelling, threats, and excessive rushing, they’ll get a sticker on a chart, a candy in their lunch, or another reward.
Don’t lump your kids together.
Kids are different and need different types of encouragement in the mornings to get things done. Let each of your children have input on their own personal morning routine. If one child needs more time, get him up earlier. If another child needs more time to eat breakfast, allow that for him. Allow each of your children to have a schedule that works for him, instead of running a boot camp group operation.
Keep things close to the door.
Organize your mudroom or entryway so that coats, hats, gloves, shoes, and anything else your child needs for the day are all near the doorway. Invest in a closet organizer that you can label with days of the week and hang in a closet near the door. Use it to stash signed permission slips, money the kids may need, sneakers on gym day, an instrument on music day, and whatever else your kids need.
Use written reminders.
Keep a whiteboard or a chalkboard near the back door and have your children write down reminders to themselves. Put it in a spot where it can be seen as you’re leaving the house.
While there’s no arguing the significance of a healthy breakfast, sometimes your child just won’t be in the mood. Don’t fight it. While routines are important, when things come up, or the routine is not working, be flexible! There will be times when the routine can cause more stress and anxiety.
A well-planned morning routine need not be elaborate, just functional!