How to make school mornings a Cinch

You may have heard of the mythical morning person, you might even be one yourself. No matter how much you may love mornings, throwing kids into the picture makes it a lot more difficult to get out the door. Summer is sadly coming to a close and school will be starting soon. The lazy mornings of waking up at 9, cooking breakfast, and sending the kids outside to play will soon be over.

If you recall the difficulties of morning during the school year, the frustration of getting kids dressed, fed, shoes on, and out the door, don’t scream and run for the hills. Instead read this blog and soon you will find yourself, if not smiling in the morning, at least yelling less.

Start Now

One of the best things you can do for your kids and yourself is to make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. During the summer bedtimes tend to be more lax than usual. Instead of changing bed times by an hour or more the day before school starts, start dialing back bedtimes by 10-15 minutes every couple days until everyone is used to going to bed earlier.

Keep in mind that kids need a lot of sleep. Experts recommend that kids between 5 and 10 years of age get 10-11 hours of sleep every night. Teenagers are a different animal, they need less sleep, around 9 hours. Studies show that not getting enough sleep can affect school performance and emotional health.

If you have younger kids that haven’t quite mastered getting dressed yet, start practicing now. If you have to dress fewer kids in the morning, you will have more time for everything else.

Screen Time

Most parents know that TV in the morning will slow everything down as your child with eyes glued on the TV, holds a bite of cereal halfway between the bowl and his mouth. Avoid this and fights over what to watch by making a rule of no screen time in the morning.

Use music as your ally instead. Play fun, loud music in the morning to get everybody dancing. Let whoever is ready first choose the music for the next day. You can also make games of getting dressed and ready. If your kids are big enough to sit in the front seat, let the winner choose which seat she wants to sit in.

Prepare the Night Before

You know you’ve heard this a thousand times, prepare everything you can the night before. Of course, you’ve heard it so much because it’s true. Preparing the night before can be near impossible after soccer, dance, hockey, and all the other extra-curricular activities your kids are in. For this case, try to prepare everything you can on Sunday, signing permission slips, noting wear pajamas to school day, even choosing clothes for the week. Let your kids choose outfits and check them after. If you do have time, pack lunches, find shoes, check homework, and do everything you can the night before, especially showers and baths.

Hand over Responsibility

Give your kids the opportunity to be responsible for morning tasks. Keep yogurt, milk, cheese sticks, fruits, and other easy morning food low in the fridge so kids can get breakfast for themselves. Keep cereal and granola bars in easy to reach places as well.

Let each of your kids choose an alarm clock and set them for them so they can wake themselves in the morning. Make sure to put it across the room so they have to get out of bed to hit snooze. If you have trouble with slow moving kids, use a timer for each activity. Put a list on their bedroom doors or on the fridge of everything they have to do in the morning, get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair, eat breakfast, put shoes on, and bring backpack. Use a visual timer to give the amount of time they have to complete each activity. If they don’t finish breakfast in time, they have to move on to the next activity and they can eat in the car or on the bus.

Assign a box or bench for school bags, homework, shoes, and other school related items. This will help avoid last minute “Mooom, I can’t find my backpack” meltdowns. Use a weekly calendar to note special days on the fridge. Kids can read it and remember that Wednesday is gym day so they should bring gym shoes, or Thursday is music, so remember the recorder. This gives them responsibility for checking the calendar every day.

Make School Mornings with your Kids Easier

Avoid meltdowns and fights on school mornings with your kids this year with tips from Imagine Toys.