Set your kids up for success at school with an easy morning routine
You know the scene well. First, your alarm goes off after a lousy night’s sleep. Then, before the sun is even up, you walk across the house to wake up the kids, who, unlike you, gratuitously give themselves 15 extra minutes of sleep despite your nagging.
By the time teeth are brushed, hair is fixed, breakfast and lunch are made, and backpacks loaded, 15 minutes has transformed into 30 minutes, and getting to school on time seems like a distant promise.
Unless your child is a natural early bird, this is part of daily life. As one school year closes and another approaches, we’ve got some tips to make your mornings a little more enjoyable.
Take 20 the Night Before
Something about 8 p.m. is much friendlier than 8 a.m. Keep that in mind next year as you kick off the school year. Take 20 minutes the night before to do a few simple tasks:
- Get backpacks as ready as possible (with the exception of homework that’s still being completed).
- Prep as much of the lunchbox as you can, or make sure lunch money is in an envelope in your child’s backpack.
- Set the coffee maker for auto-drip.
- Ensure your child has their clothes picked out for the next day.
No need to do any more than this. Accomplishing these small, but important tasks the night or evening before can make for a much smoother morning and save you valuable time.
Don’t buy into the illusion that any mom or dad out there is cooking up bacon, eggs and pancakes every morning. Hot breakfasts and big spreads are a wonderful treat for children, but a healthy, filling breakfast can be accomplished through some DIY tricks that will save you time and get your children feeding themselves.
Parenting.com and Betsy Braun suggest optimizing the kitchen to make it accessible for your children. Braun notes that foods like yogurt, fruit and granola that are kid-friendly are great options. Just keep the bowls and food reachable, and encourage your child to prep their own breakfast.
Are your children ever not looking at a screen these days? The bombardment of light has made bedtime the only period of dark in your child’s day, and those circadian rhythms are not what they used to be.
However, our bodies are still hardwired to wake up with the sun. Ensure your bedroom and your child’s bedroom allows natural light to work its way through when the sun rises. This will help you both feel more awake sooner, and get your day off to a more positive, energetic start. RealSimple even suggests making use of a light box if sleeping with blinds open just makes you a little anxious.
A checklist is the organizer’s secret weapon, and it’s one of Reader’s Digest’s 24 ways to brighten your morning. If you find yourself struggling to get a laundry list of tasks done in the morning while herding multiple kids out the door, spend time with your children creating a fun, dry-erase checklist that can help give everyone a sense of instant accomplishment in the morning. It’ll alleviate the anxiety, and keep things moving along nicely.