A couple of weeks into the school year and a lot of us are realizing that our morning routines can use a little help. Perhaps you’re like a mom I recently heard from.
She asks, “Coach Deborah, we’re having a hard time with school day mornings. Once we’re up, it seems like we’re already late. To top it off, no one can find what they need, so it’s not unusual for me to have to drive to the school later with forgotten items. There has to be a better way. Can you help?”
The best morning routines start the night before. Everything that can be done the night before, should be. Lay out clothing for the day, prepare lunches, sign all forms/papers, leave all shoes/jackets handy. These items should all be laid out and ready to grab and go right near the door.
The best gift you can give your child for a great day at school is a good night’s sleep. Most children need eight to 10 hours in order to feel completely rested and alert the next day. One way to achieve this is to store all electronics somewhere other than bedrooms. Another way to achieve a good night’s sleep is to start the process early and have a routine. It may include a shower or bath, reading together, prayers or affirmations and quiet time. All of these activities allow the brain and body to come to a place of rest instead of going from playing outside to now being in bed.
Create a routine that will lower stress in the mornings. Everyone should have their own alarm clock (not a phone). With a little practice, children as young as 5 can wake up and dress on their own. If possible, you should wake up 20-30 minutes before your children. This gives you a few moments to yourself for that first cup of coffee and allows you to be their snooze button if needed, instead of the first alarm.
I learned early on that I cannot control the mean kids at school, whether or not my kid is chosen for the soccer team at recess or how they interact with their friends. But I can give them an intentional, positive start to each school day that includes positive affirmations, breakfast and sufficient time to get ready for the day.
Whatever can be done the night before, do it. I had a rule that they cannot shove permission slips and other papers that need my signature in my face as they’re heading to the bus. An almost-missed class trip cured all of them from doing that early on, so be sure to check their backpacks and folders when they get home. Another mom I worked with left all permission slips and signed forms to Dad to handle. The goal here is to create the system that works for your family and for you. Choosing to delegate lets everyone know that everything doesn’t have to pass through you to be considered done.
There may be a couple of bumps along the way as we get used to this new normal and this new school year. Remember to count all of it as joy and to just keep going.
– Coach Deborah
Do you have a question for Coach Deborah? Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then check the column frequently, because your question just might be the one chosen!
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