It’s time for the return of the morning routines and the back to school season is here. Do you have that sinking feeling? Do you feel that you have to constantly nag your children to get up, remember their kit or even get out of the house on time? Here are some simple ideas to transform your mornings.
Review your mornings, what do you want to achieve?
It would be very easy for me to tell you what you should do with your routine but what do you want to change? A strong routine is a routine that works for you — it sets your day so that you and the whole family feel motivated for the rest of the day. Write down what’s problematic, could it be:
- Waking up
- Getting dressed
- Finding a school kit, shoes, bags, and homework
- Getting out the door on time
- Separation anxiety and struggling with transitions
Pick one and have a family meeting to discuss it first. Let’s take each difficulty in order.
Struggling with waking up, have an alarm clock
An alarm clock is a pretty grown-up thing. In my experience children covet them. You could allow them to choose one but on one condition:
If you do not use it, you lose it!
Transform Breakfast Times
Some children do not eat much at breakfast or they eat really slowly. This could be highlighting that they may be anxious about separating, I will address that later. Why don’t you let them choose a healthy breakfast for a week or implement a reward chart? Could your children take turns in being breakfast monitor?
It all too easy to do everything for your child if you are in a rush. As part of your bedtime routine, choose and put out the clothes for the morning.
How much time do you spend looking for kit, homework, shoes or bags? Stop the chaos, create a bench or place in the house where all essentials are kept. Keep it there at all times. In addition, create a tick list to put just before the door. Instead of the constant nagging, you can point to the list.
Here is an idea below:
Transform getting out of the door on time
- Skip the screen time. You’re trying to get your children to move faster, right? Don’t give them a reason to zone out over their cereal. Keep the TV and tablets off until everyone is completely ready to go.
- Instead of screens, how about putting on some music with a happy beat.
- Appoint a leader, each week one of the children is responsible for getting everyone else ready ( of course this depends on their age and developmental stage) You want at least one child on your side.
- Ensure, cuddles before you go. This will help the transition if your child is anxious or worried. I see many children and parents who struggle to separate. This may need to be tenderly addressed, you might say some words such as:
“I wonder if, or maybe you might be worried about starting school
How can I help you, would it help to…….”
“I can understand you might be feeling…..and you have to go to school, you are going to be really well looked after by….”
“I know when you get into the class, you are ok and safe”
“Maybe you are worried about mummy, mummy has lots to do at home”
Let them be late
Sometimes we have to allow children to take responsibility for their actions. If it is really problematic and is not anxiety, you could arrange with the teacher that they might be late. It may be even better to arrange a home and school reward for being on time.
Make weekends special, stay connected
It’s a good idea not to stray too much from the routine on the weekends. Please still make sure that your kids are getting enough sleep but you can enjoy the more relaxed pace by making a special breakfast or having storytime before doing the usual routine like brushing teeth and brushing hair. You can even start a special weekend tradition like cooking breakfast together. Don’t forget to give your children special time at the weekends too.
- Does your routine work for you? if not change it slowly. Focus on one task
- Do you need more time in the morning before the rush, ie a coffee in bed?
- Can you do some tasks the night before?
Lastly, it’s a new term, remember to say I love you no whatever you do or say forever. When your child knows that they are loved unconditionally no matter what, the connection and attachment between you will be secure for life and everything is much easier. I hope the mornings are transformed. If you need a bit more help, do contact me for a consultation