Starting the day off on the right foot can seem impossible when mornings at your household sees plenty of whining (“just five more minutes!”), dilly-dallying and unexpected meltdowns. Especially on school mornings where the entire family is in a rush to get fed, dressed and out of the house, even a little hiccup can throw your entire morning schedule off. But what else can be improved apart from establishing a suitable morning routine for your family?
Be really organised
If you haven’t already, assign designated locations for important school supplies and everyday essentials so that you won’t have to waste valuable time hunting for miscellaneous items during the morning rush. This applies to everything from school bags and lunch boxes, to water bottles and stationary, and power banks and house keys (you get the drift).
Start your day before everyone else
While the family has a shared routine, it will be good for parents to have their personal morning rituals. For starters, begin your day by waking up at least 15 to 20 minutes before the rest of the household. This allows you ample time to not only fully awaken, but also start preparing what’s needed at your own pace before the chaos starts. We recommend catering extra time for early morning meditation or exercise – getting into a positive mindset before facing the day (and your kids) will work wonders!
Get everyone dressed before breakfast
Getting dressed for the day is arguably the biggest undertaking in any morning routine. By having that out of the way, the kiddos are allowed a chance to actually enjoy eating their breakfast instead of rushing through their meal and onto the next step of getting ready. Even better, having a scrumptious breakfast in their sights may just be the motivation your child needs to speed up the getting ready process. It’s a win-win situation!
Chat the night before
Lengthy breakfast chats, last minute administrative matters (like signing of parental consent forms), and other unexpected things that require your attention but you really have no time for, are all best sorted out the night before. Make it a mini bedtime ritual (or include this step into your existing one) for both child and parent to update each other on the day’s happenings and what’s upcoming. Beyond getting rid of time-delaying surprises, you won’t have to feel bad about not paying attention or rushing through your child’s brekkie chatter because you’re already caught up to speed.
Running late and out of patience, it’s understandable why parents start snapping at their uncooperative child. However, diving into conflict not only takes up precious time and energy but also decreases your child’s responsiveness and sends across the message that it is okay to display their anger in frustration. As such, keep your calm and focus on rewarding good behaviour. For example, “Great work at putting on your uniform yourself!” works far better on children than “Why didn’t you button your shirt properly?”
Children are unpredictable. They may be going through the morning routine smoothly when suddenly they’re not in the mood for breakfast, or they decided not to wear the outfit they picked out the night before. In such scenarios, rigidly enforcing your routine can cause more stress and anxiety for both parties. So instead of insisting that your child eat breakfast, have him or her sit with the family. Or allow the outfit change, only if they’re able to get dressed in the stipulated time frame. Being more flexible will encourage your kids to follow the routine.