Do many of your mornings feel chaotic as you wrangle your kids through the morning routine while scrambling around for gym clothes and searching for missing text books? Do you often have to make school runs to drop off forgotten homework or items for after-school activities? If your mornings are stressful, you all get a bad start to the day. While you will always get the odd morning when things don’t go smoothly, setting up routines and processes will help you and your family to get a calm, peaceful start to the school day.
Start the night before
One of the biggest barriers to a successful morning routine is tired children. Ensure that your students get enough sleep on school nights so that they wake up rested and refreshed.
Pick an outfit for younger students and get your teens to set out the clothes they will wear the next day to prevent last-minute fashion emergencies. As students get older, they will need more time to get ready in the morning so ensure that they get up earlier.
Breakfast really is the most important meal. Studies show that students who eat breakfast are more attentive, get better grades and have fewer behavioural problems. Provide a balanced breakfast and have some quick fixes on hand, like cereal, for mornings when things aren’t going to plan.
Start a routine where students put their homework in their bags when they are done with it and where they pack their backpacks the night before. Check diaries for upcoming events and sporting activities to ensure that they have everything they need for the next day.
One thing to realise is that you can’t do everything yourself. Consider sharing lunch duty so that each family member gets a turn to make lunches. Lunches should be made the evening before or at least prepped so that you only need a couple of minutes in the morning to put things together.
Planning lunches that comply with school meal requirements and buying everything you need on the weekend will help to make your mornings smoother.
Of course it would be wonderful if your child was able to clean their room and make their beds before leaving for school. Perhaps you even dream of a clean kitchen or laundry in the basket. But trying to cram too much into one morning will leave everyone in a bad mood. Prioritise the things they need to do to prepare for the day and leave the rest until they get home.
If a morning routine is a new concept in your home, try introducing one thing at time. This will enable your students to grow accustomed to one new process so that it becomes a habit before introducing a new idea. It only takes a couple of weeks to turn a new routine into a habit, so persevere; you will be so glad you did when your mornings are peaceful.