If you’re like many families, getting everyone up, dressed, fed, and out the door in time for school is a daunting challenge. No one likes starting the day stressed and feeling like they are already playing catch up. Establishing a morning routine for school can help the whole family start off the day on a good note.
We All Do Better with Routine
According to Northwestern Medicine, routines are good for all of us. The benefits of a routine include better stress levels, sleep, and health. Chances are you’ve heard all that before when it comes to adults. But guess what? Experts say that routines have even greater benefits for kids.
One of the best times to establish a routine is in the mornings, especially with school. If you’re not a natural morning person, don’t worry. You don’t have to be in order to develop a great morning routine. Here are five tips for creating a routine that’s good for the whole family.
1. Prep the Night Before
Maintaining a successful school morning routine actually begins the night before.
Ensure Adequate Sleep
As any parent learns quickly, if a child is tired or sleep-deprived, everything is harder. And if you are well-rested, you’re more equipped to deal with things as well. So do yourself a favor by making sure your kids get enough sleep the night before.
Aren’t sure how much is “enough” sleep for your children? This chart by The Sleep Council can give you some guidelines. Getting everyone to bed at a good time will only help the morning go smoother.
TIP: Leave your blinds open so the morning sun helps wake the family. Or make it hands-free with smart blinds that you can program to open at a certain time each morning to let in the light. You can easily convert your existing blinds into smart blinds with tilt’s Automation Kit.
Get a Head Start
Prepare what you can in advance to minimize the number of responsibilities in the morning, like:
- Checking the weather forecast so you know what to expect.
- Getting backpacks ready.
- Helping kids choose and lay out the next day’s outfits.
- Preparing breakfast, or having it mostly ready to go.
- Packing lunches and snacks.
Talk with Your Kids
Talking with your children before they go to bed is another helpful technique to eliminate stress in the morning. You can talk through things they are worried about or looking forward to, and get it out in the open—before your kid has a meltdown on the way out the door.
2. Get Up First
Give yourself some extra time to get ready before you have to help children. If you are showered, dressed, and have some coffee in your system, you can be more effective in guiding the family to a successful morning. Take some time each morning to get your mindset in a good place, and you’d be surprised at what a difference your attitude alone can make.
3. Make a Morning Routine Chart
Rather than always verbally reminding your kids what they need to do each morning, create a morning routine chart that lists everything children should do to get ready. For younger kids, use pictures instead of words.
Your chart could look something like this:
- Make bed
- Get dressed
- Wash face
- Brush hair
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Put shoes on
- Grab backpack/lunchbox
- Head out the door
Once you’ve set up your morning routine for kids, walk them through all the steps so they know what is expected. It will also help you discover if you need to make adjustments.
Encourage your child to do these tasks himself/herself, and resist the urge to jump in and take over. Children who become self-sufficient gain important self-confidence and a sense of independence.
4. Wait on Screen Time
It’s natural that kids want to rush to their video game first thing, rather than getting dressed or brushing their teeth. Use this as a motivator for getting ready quicker so they can then get a few minutes of TV, their video game, or playing on the iPad.
5. Eat a Good Breakfast
Lunch at school can be anywhere from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., so give your kids a good breakfast to help power them through the morning. Protein-rich foods like eggs and cheese are better than empty calories.
Setting a morning routine for school can be a valuable tool for smoothing out one of the most common high-stress times for families. Take one more thing off your plate in the mornings by transforming your blinds into smart blinds, and never have to go around opening blinds by hand again.