The school morning can be a chaotic mix of lost uniforms, unmade beds, unmotivated children and stressed and cranky parents. It needn’t be this way. With just a little bit of planning, motivation and routine you and your kids can be out the door in record time with minimal fuss.
Here are seven ways to make the school morning easier for everyone:
Aim to have a week’s worth of uniforms washed ironed and ready to go by Sunday night. Having a shelf or drawer dedicated to school uniforms can prevent calls of “I can’t find my shorts!’’ When uniforms are all in one place they are usually easy to locate and put on.
Making lunches the night before will also free up time in the mornings. By preparing lunch boxes the night before, you can have an unhurried talk with your child about what they’d like for lunch.
Packing school bags the night before will also lighten the load in the mornings. Ensuring homework folders, library books and any necessary notes are packed in advance will reduce last-minute stress in the rush out the door. Having a dedicated place to house notes for the next day is a great way to stay organised. For example, a clip can be attached to the inside of the front door, allowing you to keep important documents visible and accessible.
2. Set an alarm
Set an alarm for yourself about 15 minutes before the kids get up. This will give you some time to yourself to prepare for the day ahead. Try to put the alarm out of reach so you can’t easily hit snooze.
Have the kids set their own alarm. A novelty alarm clock works well for younger children and for older kids there are apps available that can track sleep and wake them at the best time so they feel recharged and rested. Smart Alarm Clock and Sleep Cycle, for example, monitor the sleep cycle and wake you during light sleep, making it easier to get up.
3. Establish a routine
Kids love routine - it lets them know what to expect and when. Routines also help parents as they reduce the number of decisions that need to be made on the fly. By doing the same thing every morning, we don’t have to think about what to do first, and what comes after that. If you stick to a routine, it becomes habit and you and your kids can get through the morning without having to think too much about it.
Keep routines simple to give your child a better chance of achieving all that needs to be done. Maybe piano practise can be completed after school? It’s also important to recognise that children need help moving through the routine. Try to stay calm as you remind them (again) to brush their teeth and make their bed.
4. Use lists and charts
- Visual lists are great for kids, especially if they can tick off each item as they go. One list could include things to do each morning such as: go to the toilet, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth, pack bag, make bed.
- You can have a separate visual list for the kids to pack their own school bags. This could include: water, lunch box, hat, jumper, raincoat, pencil case, homework. Having the kids pack their own bags teaches them that they are responsible for their own things.
- Make a chart for the week and place it where everyone can see it. Include all that’s happening at school that week, tests, excursions, show and tell, music lessons, library visits etc. Use a separate colour for each child so they know which items apply to each of them and what, if anything extra, they need to pack.
5. Make breakfast easy for kids to help themselves
Put breakfast items on a shelf within easy reach for all children. This could include cereal, bowls, cutlery etc so that kids can help themselves (if they are old enough). If the kids are too young to help themselves, lay out breakfast items on the bench the night before so that you’re ready to hit the ground running in the morning
6. Make mornings a tech-free zone
Getting children to follow a routine is difficult at the best of times, let alone if there’s a television or device to distract them. A tech-free zone will allow your kids to focus on what needs to get done in the morning. If they get distracted by other things such as a toy or book, point them to their list and ask them if everything has been checked off. Remind them they can play/read once all of their ‘jobs’ have been done.
7. Allow time for connection
Allowing time for meaningful connection with each child as they rise in the morning will really transform your start to the day. For example, young children might enjoy being sung to as they wake, or a quiet cuddle in bed before facing the day. Start the day on a positive note by talking about what each of you are looking forward to from the day. Sparing just five minutes of conversation and connection can really lighten the mood.
For over a hundred years Trinity Grammar School has educated boys in mind, body and spirit. Our mission is to provide a thoroughly Christian education for boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12, imparting knowledge and understanding of the world we live in, and recognising the importance of spiritual qualities in every sphere of learning.
At Trinity, we celebrate families and all they do for their children and the community. We believe in working collaboratively with parents and students in a supportive Christian environment to ensure our boys realise their full potential, embrace their passions and find their life’s purpose.
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