Nothing sets the tone for your day more than your morning routine. Because we are all headed off to our daytime destination, we expect things to go right and we don’t have time for nonsense. Whenever the clock doesn’t go off, the car won’t start, someone wakes up sick or you’re out of milk, those things can throw your day into a tailspin. Some homes, though, just move at a frenetic pace and everyone feels like they are always five minutes late. How do you think this atmosphere affects your child as they are getting ready for school? You can make a huge impact on their day by getting control of your morning routine.
A good morning starts the night before. As mentioned in an earlier post, setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it is very important for adequate rest for your child. It also gives you a chance to relax and have some time for yourself or spend it with your spouse in the evening. But there are other things that you can do the night before. Go ahead and lay out your child’s clothes for the next day. You can get them involved in the selection process, and by the time they enter middle school they should be doing this themselves. Pack up your child’s book bag the night before. Once homework is finished, put all of the papers that need to go back to school in the right folders, make sure everything is signed, and load their bags for the next day. Have your younger children take their baths at night. This will help your child sleep better, lessen the morning rush on the bathroom, and save you several minutes in the morning. If your child takes their lunch to school, go ahead and talk about that the night before so that you know what to pack the next morning.
Just as important as a regular bedtime, waking at the same time every day starts your child off in an expected routine. Work them into a pattern that works for your family; maybe your kids make their bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, and finally put on shoes, jackets, and book bags. If possible, have everyone in the family sit down at the same time to eat breakfast. This makes for one cleanup and gives you a few minutes to connect in the morning. Don’t overlook breakfast; it really is the most important meal of the day because it stokes that energy furnace inside of you. Ideally you should give your child a well-balanced breakfast, but if both Mom and Dad work then that might be a difficult task to accomplish. No matter what, just make sure that they eat something before school. Many health experts bash the ready-to-eat breakfast but having something in their belly is better than having nothing at all.
Save any arguments or potentially heated discussions till later in the day. Your child doesn’t need to hear those before school because this sets the tone for their attitude and outlook for the day. Briefly go over any afternoon activities to make sure that everyone knows where they need to be and when, and that they have anything they may need to support those activities.
Parents, you set the pace for the day in your household by the way your morning goes. If you need to get up a few minutes earlier to alleviate some pain points in the morning routine, then by all means do so. Some of the unexpected events that happen in the morning are unavoidable, but most of the stress of morning goes away with just a little bit of planning and intentionality on your part. Your child is following your lead, and a cheerful, relaxed environment in the morning will do wonders for their day.