A Calm Morning Starts The Night Before
Children don’t understand time in the same way as grown-ups. This can make school mornings a stressful time of day for families. Time pressures and competing demands can turn mornings into a combat zone. Time management can be one of the most difficult skills to master. In fact, many mothers agree that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Even the most organized person will become stressed out when short on time.
Whether you’re a morning person by nature or not, most weekday mornings begin too early (in this house weekends do to but that’ll have to be another post). It is easy to fall into the pattern of being late or in the rush, rush, rush pattern.Getting Kids Up, Snatch and Go Theory Really Does Work.It’s just not enough to get dressed and eat. How many times have kids missed the bus because they couldn’t find their homework sheet or didn’t have their backpack put together? Neither one of these are helpful for our children. Avoid the morning rush with planning and preparation. When morning time is unhurried and organized, everyone is more relaxed and the day begins much brighter.
Create a morning routine and help your child to follow the same routine every day. Routines make things predictable and help keep your child on track. Younger children may enjoy using a picture chart to illustrate their morning schedule. There are heaps of free printable’s on the net for this like this one school-morning-routine-cards or if you’re tech savvy kids prefer you can even get apps like this one the preschool morning routines app from staytoooned.com. For older children who are reading, a written schedule is often helpful.
(I would say is vital point especially for mums with children with have learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, or executive functioning disorders. Children with these disorders often have difficulty managing the everyday tasks necessary to move through the day with ease. I know my son is much more at ease when he knows what to expect and routine is also a way to reduce those “episodes” where uncontrollable anxiety and stress levels increase.)
Switch off. Keep electronic distractions off in the morning. Use the morning time to talk and be with your child during breakfast and in preparation for school. Make a rule that there be no television, computer, video games, etc. during this time.
Stagger Wake-Up Times. Try getting up 15-20 minutes before the kids to get anything done that may not have been done the night before (or better yet get yourself ready before you have kids hanging off your legs). If you’ve got more than one child in the house, and especially if you have a large family, consider staggering wakeup times for greater efficiency. Start with child who need assistance first, or the ones who are real sleepyheads who move at a snail’s pace come mornings.
Also consider the gentle wake up approach (especially children who are sensitive to touch. Try gently wiping a cool, damp wash cloth over your sleepy kid’s brow and cheeks while whispering a morning greeting can have a much better result than yelling out “time to get up for school”. Alternatively Let light into the room. If it’s naturally dark outside at night, leave the bedroom curtains parted to allow natural light to prod your child into wakefulness in the morning. Or install a dimmer switch and turn up the light gradually on dark mornings.
Encourage Self Responsibility. Why do parents have to wake kids up anyway? Except for youngsters, kids can learn to awaken by an alarm clock and get themselves up without mum or dad hovering and yelling, “Are you up yet?”. There are some great gadgets on the market as far as alarms are concerned like Momo the money that will have your kids WANTING to use it and get up when it goes off. Help them decide what is the best time for the alarm to go off and get ready on time. If they run out of time or are cutting it close encourage them to set their alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Cause and effect…it’s a good lesson to learn!
Aside from good Morning routine the solution is to save time by doing some of your morning tasks the night before.
Everything in it’s place. Have your child designate areas for all necessary school items, such as book bag, lunch box, glasses, etc. Help your child get into the routine of putting these items in their designated spots so they are easy to find in the morning. Having a designated place for them to store these items will save you having to search high and low for that mysterious missing school hat, library bag or left shoe!
Plan for an early bedtime. With any good morning routine comes a good night routine (coming soon). Kids who are well rested will (most times) wake up much happier and are often easier to “manage”. Also earlier to bed for kids means hopefully you’ll have an earlier night too or at least some child free time to get organised. Also bath/shower before bed to avoid having to do it in the morning and also it often helps kids relax ready for sleep. It was recommended to me that I provide a protein-rich bedtime snack for my son (who has ADHD). Tryptophan, the protein that occurs in milk, turkey, and chicken, is a natural sleep inducer. But just about any protein-rich snack about 30 minutes before bedtime is an efficient get-to-sleep aid. Try oatmeal, whole-wheat cereal, an egg, some meat or fish, cheese, or pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
Get everything ready before bed. Get the kids bags and uniforms ready the night before. (another vital point for those kids with who have learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, or executive functioning disorders whom often like to pick their own items to wear like shoes, etc plus it avoids the drams early in the morning). If possible find out the day before if there are any special days on at school like Library day, sport day etc so you can be prepared and avoid that morning stress. Don’t forget your own tasks! Mums and dads can benefit from organising clothes at night too. Yes, picking out clothes for the adults (and everyone else in the family) will help.
Prepare Lunches. Many school lunch items – from sandwiches to chopped vegetables – can be prepared and refrigerated. Even hot items, such as soup, can be made at night, and heated in the morning. It only takes seconds to put already prepared lunch items in the box. Doing this the night before can save lots of time and also avoids the hassle of kids wanting to order lunch from the canteen because you’ve run out of time.
Organise Breakfast. Breakfast is an important meal of the day and for active kids its vital to feed their brains for the busy day ahead (this goes for you!!) Make sure your child’s breakfast is balanced and wholesome and can sustain him until lunchtime. A combination of complex carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat helps prevent hunger symptoms for hours. Make a batch of pancakes and refrigerate them. Simply pop them in the microwave or toaster oven in the morning for a quickly made breakfast. What about eggs? Hard boil them at night and serve with toast for breakfast. Set each person’s place, and put non-perishables, such as cereal, on the table. Again, this is just one more task that you will not have to perform during those precious and few morning minutes. By making the main part of breakfast at night or at least organising it, you’ll cut significant time from your morning routine.
Only Do What’s Really Important. Some parents unwhittingly set their kids to fail with their morning routines by tackling on unexpected chores and duties, which causes whines and a mad rush to end up on time. Consider creating a checklist of what absolutely must be done each morning, then forget the rest. If you want your child to make his bed every morning, then make that a requirement. However, cleaning the cat box can surely wait until a child gets home.
•Focus on the positives. A rule of thumb here is six positives for every negative. Look for good behaviour and try to ensure that positive comments – praise and encouragement – outweigh instructions and reprimands.
•Use surprises to celebrate cooperation and being ready on time. A treat in the lunch box, or an extra story at bedtime might be all it takes.
•Try not to give your children extra attention for arguing, whining or stalling. Even negative attention is an incentive for them to keep arguing, whining and stalling.