Those first mornings of the school year can be tricky. But if you don't get an efficient school morning routine in place as the kids go back to school, it may not get better later in the school year.
1. Wake Up Early
On the first days back to school, start your school morning 15 to 20 minutes earlier than you think you need. As the school year goes on, you may be able to adjust your wake-up times. But having a little extra time is an excellent cushion to put in place for those unexpected hiccups everyone experiences.
Some parents find it helpful for them to get up earlier than their kids, especially if they try to get out the door to work. Figure out how much interruption-free time you need before your kids get up. For instance, do you need your morning coffee before you see their bright, cheery faces?
Keep in mind too, that wake-up time is directly related to bedtime, especially with younger kids. As a result, you may want to start the school year with an early bedtime too and adjust later if it seems warranted.
2. Get It Done the Night Before
For a smooth school morning, it helps to plan the night before. Encourage your kids to do what they can the night before. For instance, you may want to make sure lunches are packed, clothes are laid out, breakfast is planned, devices are charged, homework, and other things are packed for school.
Depending on your child's age, they may be able to do many of these things independently with supervision from you. Encouraging kids to prepare for the next day teaches essential life skills like independence and time management. So, don't shy away from assigning your kids some of these tasks.
Finally, many families find it helpful to have a designated space in their home where they keep everything needed for the next day. Then, they put backpacks, chargers, electronics, keys, shoes, and other necessities in this area the night before. Doing so saves them from running around the house the following day looking for what they need.
3. Learn to Delegate
When kids are little, parents often do almost everything for them, and sometimes they just stay in that habit even as they get older. A new school year is ideal for looking at your child's skills and adding new jobs to their morning routine.
For instance, if you want your kids to take care of a chore that you've previously done for them, like making their own lunches or getting dressed, spend time teaching these skills when you're not rushed. Don't try to squeeze it into your already hectic school morning.
4. Don't Sweat Breakfast
While it's true that breakfast is important—some even argue that it's the most important meal of the day—it doesn't have to create extra pressure for you or your kids. Start by planning some easy breakfast ideas that you can have on hand for your family.
The key is that you aren't allowing breakfast to throw a wrench into getting the day started. Another way to solve breakfast issues is to ask your kids what they want for breakfast the night before and plan out simple breakfast ideas.
Kids will respond much better if they know the night before that you're out of their favourite cereal rather than when they are still foggy from sleep.
Remember that breakfast is still important even if your kids are learning from home during the pandemic. Make having breakfast every day a priority. Not only will it help nourish your kids, but it gives them a good start for the online learning they will be doing.
5. Have a Checklist
Trying to remember everything that needs to be done can be a challenge, especially at the beginning of the school year. For this reason, some families find it helpful to develop a checklist for their morning routine.
6. Give Kids an Incentive
Sometimes kids need a little more motivation to get through their morning routines, especially if they don't like school, are grumpy in the mornings, or are simply slow-moving kids. Consequently, these kids may not care that they get a late slip. To keep your mornings from becoming a battle, you may want to consider developing some incentives for your kids to get ready on time.
For instance, some kids will be sure they accomplish all their tasks if they know they will be allowed to play a game, read a book, or watch television before school. As a result, if you plan to motivate your kids with these types of rewards, make sure you build in a little extra time.