It’s Monday morning and the kids are not in the mood to go to school. You wake them up, but they don’t want to get moving. No matter how hard you try, they don’t care that they will be late for school (and you’ll be late for work). Ever wondered how you could make school mornings easier? Here are some tips:
1) Pack everything you need the night before: I can’t tell you how much time you’ll save by doing this. Lay out the kids’ shoes and clothes, make school lunches if possible and set out your clothes as well. Put snacks in baggies and fill up water bottles the night before. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking for a matched pair of socks at 7am in the morning. Save yourself the hassle.
2) Have a plan for breakfast: Kids need proper nutrition to grow and learn. Buy breakfast foods ahead of time so you have them handy in the mornings. Plan ahead so that both you and the kids know what to expect at breakfast time. The last thing you need is an early morning tantrum because of food surprises. I typically ask my kids the night before what they want to have for breakfast the next day. If they pick it, they’ll be excited to eat it. I give them about 3 options and they are always happy to ‘be in charge.’
3) Create a school lunch plan: Pinterest is my very best friend. It is a great resource for finding quick, easy school lunch recipes. Knowing what you are going to pack for the week helps save time and money. You can purchase everything you need on the weekend, that way you are set all week. Take the guessing out of school lunches.
4) Make sure the kids are in bed on time: Many kids are not getting the appropriate amount of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers (age 1-2) need 11 to 14 hours of sleep, kids ages 3-5 need about 11 hours of sleep and kids age 6-11 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep. Clearly most kids are not getting the desired amount of sleep. Well rested children have more energy and are less cranky.
Try to put your kids to bed at the same time each night that way they fall into a natural routine. Also create bed time rituals. That could include reading a bedtime story, listening to soft music, having them take a shower, sitting in the bedroom or praying together. In my house once they are done drinking their hot chocolate, they know bed time is near. Choose whatever works for you and your schedule. Not only are rituals predictable, but they also create fun memories.
5) Make a morning checklist: The great thing about having kids who can read is that they gain a certain level of independence. I created a daily checklist for my 8 year old. He gets to check off all the grooming activities he needs to complete in the morning and he gets so much pride from doing it. Less confusion for him, more joy for me. Pick activities that your child often forgets to do such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair and putting clothes in the laundry basket. Make it short and easy to understand.
And if your child can’t read, here’s a simple morning checklist for preschoolers by Frugal Mama http://www.frugal-mama.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/GetReadyforSchoolPrintableKidsChecklist.pdf
6) Provide rewards and incentives: Sometimes kids need motivation to get out of bed and put their clothes on. I keep my 8 year old excited by promising him a fun activity on the weekend. He knows that if he completes his checklist 5 days in a row he gets to go somewhere fun or do something fun. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. He loves family time, so a family game of monopoly or a trip to the park is enough to get him moving on weekdays.
There you have it- some strategies to reduce tantrums, hair pulling and general frustrations on school mornings. What strategy are you willing to try?
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