For most people, mornings can set the mood for the whole day. Having a stressful morning where you are rushing to do everything without forgetting something important, or spilling your coffee down your favorite shirt, inevitably has a domino effect on the rest of your day.
It also affects how your kid’s day plays out. Like everything in life, it helps to be prepared for your morning tasks beforehand, both for your child’s welfare and your sanity.
However, the younger your kids are, the more difficult it is to get them ready and moving. They’re sleepy and easily distracted when first waking up, like anyone else.
By planning ahead and preparing for your morning the night before, you can ensure that your routine goes smoothly, and that everyone arrives where they are supposed to be, fully equipped with their convertible backpack, and on time.
Get Outfits and Uniforms Ready
This is probably one of the simplest things you can do ahead of time to have an effective morning routine. Readying your child’s school uniform or outfit includes finding their socks, pants, shirts, and jackets and laying them out. If you are wondering how to look cute in a school uniform, it could be useful to set out and pre plan your outfits.
Not only does doing this the night before save you time in the morning, but it also saves you the misery of realizing on the said morning that you are out of clean laundry completely. Moms, we know you feel our pain here. Talk about maximizing time and minimizing stress!
Create a Weekly Breakfast and Lunch Calendar
Whether they are young or old, teenagers, or elementary schoolers, getting most kids to eat a healthy breakfast early in the morning is next to impossible. A good way to ensure they eat at least something semi-healthy is to plan breakfast meals or a breakfast idea ahead of time, so your young child knows what to expect each day
The thinking behind this strategy is if they have a problem with a particular meal they can object well in advance, instead of throwing a tantrum in the morning, disrupting everyone’s routine, and ruining moods all across the board. This same logic applies to school lunches as well.
Including children in the planning of meals encourages them to take an interest and get excited about that activity. It also helps give them a feeling of control over their lives that can ultimately boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Meal Prep for Breakfast and Lunch
Once you know what breakfast and lunch items your young child will need the next day or the following week, you can do as much meal prep as possible.
This can shave precious time off your morning routine and significantly reduce your stress levels. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a bowl pre-cooked food out of the fridge and popping it in the microwave! It is also helpful to have snack ideas for kids in your back pocket.
Pack Backpacks and School Supplies
Another one of our great back to school tips for parents is to gather all supplies your child will need for their day and pack them up in their backpack the night prior. Make it a habit to check school agendas, sign any notes, and make sure they have all books and notebooks in the right places the night before.
Bonus points if you make your child do these tasks with you so that you can begin to instill the same preparedness habits in them.
Plus, by packing your child’s backpack the night before—or overseeing the task while your child does it—it means you can ensure nothing essential is left home because everyone is all “rush, rush, rush” in the morning.
Shower/Bathe Before Bed
This one might seem like a no brainer but the truth is, most kids balk over bath time. They are afraid of missing out on something fun. Heck, some kids just downright don’t like baths!
However, encouraging your kid to shower or take a bath at night can have a double benefit. Along with making your mornings much easier, you’ll ensure that everyone has hot water and ample time in the bathroom. Hello, hot, glorious shower.
Ensure Proper Sleep
Depending on age, every human needs a solid nights’ sleep to function properly during the day. Teenagers require roughly 8 hours of sleep, whereas younger children require closer to 10-12 hours. Without adequate sleep, kids can wake up irritated, suffer mood swings, and have difficulty focusing, especially in the morning.
Make sure your kids go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every morning. This helps program their inner clock and sets their sleep habits up for success.
How to Get Kids Ready
Regardless of how old they are, most school-age children need some type of support from their parents while they are getting ready. Even so, you should constantly encourage them to do their tasks for themselves to help foster self-confidence and independence.
For instance, younger kids may be able to get dressed themselves, put their lunch boxes in their bags, and perhaps even get their own breakfast from the kitchen.
Teenagers, of course, should—theoretically anyway—be able to do everything for themselves.
However you do it, the most important thing is to set a routine and make it permanent, so your kids know what to expect every day and can plan their mornings accordingly. Children thrive in routine.
How to Set a Morning Routine
If you’re ready to transform your mornings for the better, it’s time to set a routine. Though some feel routines can be boring, the reality is they provide structure to your day and clear your mind so that you can give your attention to that which is most important.
Routines decrease brain clutter and increase focus no matter what activity you engage in, whether it’s school, work, or something fun and creative. A morning routine also fosters a positive mindset and boosts mood.
Research corroborates this theory, stating that one habit all successful people have in common is that they have a set morning routine that they engage in every day. So how do they do it?
It takes human beings about 21 days to form a habit that sticks. The same theory can be applied to forming a morning routine. As the new school year starts, sit down with your kids to discuss and plan a proper routine for each day, including mornings.
Make an activity calendar, preferably for the whole family, and put it somewhere everyone can access. That way the kids will know what before and after school activities they have planned too. It can sometimes provide extra morning motivation when they know they have something they enjoy doing to look forward to that day.
Another way to encourage kids to form a morning routine is to figure out which morning ritual they enjoy most, and then use that to get them to do other, less exciting activities, such as brushing their teeth or getting their shoes on.
You can also reward them by allowing them to play a game, do some reading, or watch some TV before going to school. The caveat is that all required tasks must be done to your satisfaction first.
How to Make School Mornings Fun
Ideally, just like you, you want your kids to be happy and relaxed in the morning. A good mood in the morning only increases the likelihood of them having a good mood all throughout the day.
Preparing everything beforehand is a significant step in streamlining your morning and starting everyone off on the right foot.
Another tactic is to discuss any problems and anxieties your child might be facing related to school—or something else—the night before. This can significantly decrease stress levels, help your child sleep better, and allow them to awaken the next day ready to take on the world.
Of course, there’s nothing better than also including a fun activity in your child’s morning routine. Again, that fun activity might be screen time, a game, or reading a few pages of their favorite book.
Alternatively, that fun activity could be something else altogether, like listening to music and dancing or getting 10 minutes to play with “Mom’s” phone. The key is to let them pick their favorite thing all on their own so that you know it’s something that really thrills them.
For many kids, going to bed with the knowledge that they will get to do their favorite activity in the morning helps them wake up excited and happy, which is the goal!
Granted, these strategies for creating a routine may not work for everyone. What works successfully differs from child to child and family to family, because everyone has unique needs and there is no one size fits all solution.
Hopefully though, by following these simple suggestions you’ll be well on your way to reclaiming your sanity and carving out a school morning routine that’s perfect for you and yours.