It’s back to school time and while that may mean happiness for some, for others it means getting up earlier and dreading the morning routine. Oh, the horror! Getting kids up early comes with challenges, to say the least. No one is disputing that. However, those challenges can be overcome and managed. Check out our 11 tips to help you and your kids get into a good back to school morning routine.
1. Let Them Know What To Expect
Setting expectations is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page. Also, let them know if there are any changes to the routine. Do you have to get up a little earlier to pick up something before school or maybe drop your car off at the shop? Let them know.
2. Lighten The Mood
Most likely they aren’t going to be in a great mood when the alarm goes off. Who can blame them? Try playing some soft music in the background. How about Louis Armstrong or Happy by Pharrell? These are just helpers. The main mood setter will be you. Smile. Laugh. They’ll pick up on your cues.
3. Prepare The Night Before
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Spend some time the Sunday before to agree on which clothes they’re going to wear. This saves valuable time picking out clothes or arguing about what they want to wear or not wear. Also, it gives them ownership of choices. This helps them be involved and will lead to happier kids. Landmine avoid.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting your kid up and going in the morning is hard enough as it is. Getting a kid that hasn’t had enough sleep up and going is asking for trouble. For suggested sleep amounts check out the American Academy of Pediatrics for their recommendations.
5. Wake Up Before Them
This is a no-brainer. Get up, feed the dog, put the coffee on, hop in the shower, exercise, whatever you need to do in the morning you need to do before your kids wake up. It’s important for you to have time to yourself, too, in the morning. You’ll need to stay on top of them and it’s hard to do that if you’re also in a hurry.
6. Let Them Help
The sooner that you can have your kids help themselves, the better off everyone will be. Obviously, the easy ones that come to mind are getting dressed by themselves and brushing their hair and teeth. But making breakfast and packing a lunch can take up a big part of your morning. Think about making up breakfast over the weekend so they have something quick they can grab and warm up quickly. Muffins and breakfast tacos and breakfast casserole can work here. Also if you have leftovers from the night before let them portion out some for their lunch after dinner.
7. Stay Calm
Your children will model their behavior on your behavior. Take a deep breath. Remember that the goal is to get everyone out the door on time, with everything they need and in the best mood possible. You won’t be able to accomplish all three if you’re yelling and screaming.
8. Eliminate the TV
TV is a time waster, distraction, and an argument waiting to happen. Don’t do it.
9. Stay Consistent
This refers to you and their routine. Don’t mix it up. Find something that works and stick with it. This includes thinking about what order certain to-do items are completed. Do they need to brush their teeth and hair before getting dressed or if you have multiple kids, should they alternate who gets the bathroom first? Is breakfast first, or should they be dressed before eating? As best you can, organize their checklist to reflect the order of the day.
10. Morning Routine Checklist
Especially for young kids, a checklist is a great tool to have. Place it somewhere that’s visible like the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror or the door to your garage. There are a couple different options for this. Maybe a dry erase board or a pre-made one.
11. Plan For The Unexpected
Toria Frederick at Super Healthy Kids recommends keeping an “emergency kit” in your car, but not for scrapes and cuts; their emergency kit includes things like a hairbrush or a breakfast bar. Take your kids’ ages into account, but consider including items like disposable toothbrushes (like Colgate wisps – link), travel deodorant, face wipes, etc.) Pro tip: Only include items that are less desirable than the real version at home as an incentive to remember next time.
Remember there will be good days and bad. But if you use these tips to create a stress-free back to school morning routine you and your family will have happier and more enjoyable starts to your day.