After a less than structured summer schedule back to school is often a welcome time of year for parents. It the means a return to the normal daily routine. But if you’re like most parents, the morning struggle of getting kids ready for school while getting ready yourself can be enormously hectic and stressful. The endeavour can be particularly challenging with children who are in kindergarten or the lower elementary grades. Because of the herculean effort it takes, you may sometimes feel exhausted and it’s very easy for you all to be late for school/work. Yet this process doesn’t have to be so stressful, as a little forethought and organization can make the morning routine go smoother.
Here are CanadianNanny.ca founder and child care expert Martha Scully’s tips to kind in mind.
How to Make it Easier to Get Your Kids Ready for School
1. Fill the Child’s Cup
When you’re rushed, you may be tempted to save the hugs and kisses for later in the day. According to Aha! Parenting, you should take five minutes before the day’s activities to “fill the child’s cup.” This consists of relaxing with hugs, kisses and cuddles to reconnect after the night’s separation. It’s much better for a child to wake up to demonstrations of love than to harried orders.
2. Prepare the Night Before
Anything you can do the night before will make the morning routine less difficult. Help the child choose what to wear, so any battles that arise may be resolved. Pack lunches. Lay out everything that is needed, including underwear, shoes and hair accessories, along with books and homework. Taking baths at night rather than in the morning is a good time-saver. Check backpacks to attend to miscellaneous tasks like signing permission slips.
3. Go to Bed Early
Children can be cranky if they haven’t had enough sleep, so establish a bedtime early enough to give them a full night’s rest. Likewise, if you stayed up late the night before, it will be hard to show patience and maintain a pleasant attitude. Without sufficient sleep, the entire household will start the day feeling tired, which will make it harder to hustle through the morning’s activities.
4. Set the Alarm Early
Establish a getting-up time that is early enough to allow a comfort zone. For example, if you anticipate that the morning routine will take one hour, set the alarm a half hour earlier. The extra time will give you some wiggle room and lessen the pressure you feel when events arise that cause delays.
5. Keep Breakfast Simple
Simple breakfasts needn’t be unhealthy. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit is an easy but nourishing meal. Alternatively, yogurts, cheeses and whole grain cold cereals make breakfast a breeze without sacrificing nutrition. Save the homemade options like pancakes or omelets for weekends.
6. Post a Checklist
Create or purchase a morning routine checklist and post it on the wall. You can choose one with images for children who aren’t old enough to read. The chart would entail all the activities that must be done before school, such as eating breakfast, brushing teeth and getting dressed. It’s a helpful tool to enable children to become responsible for getting themselves ready.
7. Streamline Routine
Keep the household’s morning to-do list down to the bare essentials. Children can feed the pets, put their pajamas back in the drawers and make their beds, but other chores can wait until the evening or weekend. Likewise, postpone any discussions that are likely to be lengthy until everyone returns home.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Assign each child some responsibility. Even preschoolers can be given tasks like setting the table, a duty that can make them feel they’re making a useful contribution. Older children can also help with the little ones.
9. Be a Role Model
Model all the behaviours you are asking of your children. This includes preparing your own clothes the night before and not skipping breakfast. When you set a good example, they will be more likely to consider your standards as the norm.
10. Ban Distractions
Some children may want to turn on the TV or computer when they get up in the morning. Such activities can wreck a schedule and distract from the focus of getting dressed. Make it a rule that no screen time is allowed in the morning.
Before preschoolers start the school year, it’s a good idea to spend some time play-acting the morning routine. Make a fun game of it, reversing roles and permitting the child to play the caregiver. Since schedules are more relaxed in the summer, start easing kids back into a regular routine at least a week before school starts.
12. Set a Positive Tone
Moods are contagious, so face the morning with an optimistic outlook. When you feel tension building, try to stay calm and see the funny side of things. Being quick to praise children’s good behaviour sets a positive tone, which will encourage cooperation in preparing for school.
13. Make an Emergency Kit
All the above measures should help, but unforeseen things can always happen that make children late. For these contingencies, make an emergency kit to keep in the car that contains items you can use in a pinch, such as breakfast bars, combs and hair barrettes.
Bonus Tip: Hire Before School Childcare
A part-time nanny or babysitter to help with morning prep could huge assistance in the morning.
For more information about before-school child care read:
It’s Not Easy But You Can Do it!
The above tips won’t guarantee that your morning routine will no longer be a hassle; however, they can make a decided difference. Parenting experts agree that preparedness and a positive attitude can go a long way in enabling children to be ready on time and making your morning routine less stressful.
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