Prime Your Children for a Good School Day
School has begun. That means getting our children up in the morning and off to school on time. If that isn’t hard enough, we want to get them off in the morning while everyone stays in a good mood. Not an easy task. However, there are steps we can take to make the morning go smoother and prime our children for a better day, a day that starts with a good mood. Here are six suggestions to help.
- A smooth morning routine begins with an effective bedtime routine. Help your children get to bed early enough to get a good night’s rest. This may mean turning all devices off and relaxing together for an hour before bedtime. Read a book together. Talk about the day. Snuggle. Keep your children’s bedroom conducive for sleep as well. This may mean no TV, video games, or cell phones in the bedroom.
- Prepare what you can the night before. Lay out the clothes. Pack the lunches. Put homework, books, and school supplies into backpacks before going to bed. Teaching your children to pack for school the night before also teaches them to think ahead and prepare for life in general.
- Get your older children their own alarm clock. Help your children think about how much time they need to get ready. Teach them to set their alarm on their own. Then, allow them to accept the responsibility of getting up on their own.
- If they struggle to complete their morning routine, use something they find interesting to set up a “challenge” for them. For instance, our daughter liked Dragon Tales. We printed a picture of one of her favorite dragons and turned it into a simple puzzle. We gave her one puzzle piece for each part of the routine she completed—brushing her teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, etc. When she finished her morning routine, she had completed a picture of her favorite dragon. This helped motivate her to keep working her way through the routine. Use whatever interests your children to motivate them through the morning routine.
- Let them suffer their own consequences…especially as they get older. If they run late, don’t rush to make up their lost time. Let them suffer the consequences of arriving at school late. Let them experience the discomfort of getting up late and rushing through the morning routine, possibly missing their shower or having to eat as they run out the door. Don’t rescue them if, in their rush, they forget to take something to school. We all learn from the consequences of our mistakes. Give your child the opportunity and the dignity to do the same.
- Establishing a good morning routine sets the pace for the rest of the day. It primes our day and our children’s day. If you’re grumpy, they’ll be grumpy too. Act in a way that will encourage your children toward a positive day. Be kind. Encourage. Share a loving hug as they leave for the day.
These six simple steps can help your children’s morning routine go more smoothly. They will also help you build a more positive relationship with your children and prime them for a better day.