Mornings help set the tone for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, after the long, lazy days of summer vacation, transitioning your kids back to a consistent daily routine can be easier said than done. Don’t let stress sabotage your mornings! These seven tips will help you smoothly get your morning routine back on track and ensure your kids have a successful school year.
TIP 1: You should get dressed first!
This tip seems self-explanatory, but just like they say during the safety demonstration on an airplane, you can only help your child if you help yourself first. Make sure you’re dressed and have everything you need so you don’t forget anything as you are running out the door in the morning.
EXTRA TIP: Make getting dressed fun for your kids. Race your children or have them race each other to see who can get ready first. You can give the winner a prize.
TIP 2: Maximize your evenings.
The quiet part of the evening just before bed is a good time to prepare for the next day. Make sure all homework and permission slips have been signed and placed back into your child’s bag. If you pack a lunch for your child, consider making it the night before, or at least doing most of the prep work.
To further simplify your mornings, lay out your clothes and your child’s clothes at night (even if they wear a uniform). You can also invest in days-of-the-week clothing such as underwear and socks (Amazon has a wonderful selection)! This will help your kids learn the days of the week and keep them organized.
TIP 3: Time it out!
When you begin planning your morning routine, try to backtrack from the time you need to be at school or out of the door. Estimate how much time you should allow for each morning activity, including your commute.
You can even do a test drive to school before the official day (this is a good idea for new drivers). Make sure you consider how much longer it could take to get to school during the morning rush hour if you do your test drive when there is lighter traffic.
TIP 4: Make the morning a teachable moment.
As mentioned above, you can use days-of-the-week clothing to help your children learn in the morning. You can also reward your kids for getting ready on time by allowing them to watch one of their favorite educational shows or giving them a special treat at the end of the week. This will help them understand that being punctual is a valuable quality.
TIP 5: Don’t feel guilty if you can’t cook a 5-star breakfast!
You are not expected to make an extravagant meal every single morning—or any morning, quite frankly. Make things easy on yourself and buy healthy grab-and-go options.
Place them out on the counter or in labeled bins in the refrigerator so that your kids can easily reach them in the morning. Some great options are granola bars, cashew bars, breakfast biscuits, yogurt and fruit.
TIP 6: Play music in the morning
Make the morning more fun with music. If your child wants to hear “Baby Shark” at 7 a.m., let them hear it. As long as it gets them out of bed in the morning and out the door on time, you win. Bonus: the songs will help your children keep track of how long they are taking to complete each activity. You can also make this a competition or reward by allowing whoever gets dressed first in the family to be able to choose the music.
TIP 7: Use the first week as a trial run.
They always say, “practice makes perfect” and this is exactly what they mean. Test out your routine the first week of school and make any necessary adjustments.
EXTRA TIP: Remember, everyone is late sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up over a late morning, and don’t let one bad morning throw off your whole routine. There will be plenty more mornings to get where you need to go on time!
Theron Pickett is currently a junior at Georgetown University, majoring in Government. She hopes to attend law school in the near future.