Getting everyone ready for school in the mornings can get a little crazy. Here are some simple and effective morning routines for your elementary school child.
Creating Effective Morning Routine for School Days
Parenting an elementary school child is tons of fun! They crave independence, are helpful (most of the time), and can do many things on their own (like getting dressed, pouring cereal, putting their shoes on). BUT, my elementary school child likes to do things on her own time, which can cause some problems if you’re like us and need to be out of the house by a certain time.
Here are some helpful tips for getting kids ready for school in the mornings:
- Plan ahead and have a routine. This will help to reduce stress and make the morning go more smoothly.
- Lay out clothes and pack lunches the night before. This will save time in the morning.
- Have a healthy breakfast. This will help kids stay focused and alert during the day.
- Give kids plenty of time to wake up and get ready. This will help them avoid feeling rushed.
- Be positive and encouraging. This will help kids start their day off on the right foot.
What My Elementary School Child is Like in the Morning
My 2nd grader is an awesomely creative kid, but not the highest functioning in the mornings. Our morning routines consisted of me making breakfast, getting all 3 kids dressed, teeth brushed, fed, and out the door. I was giving way to many verbal reminders and there was just a feeling of stress all around, which isn’t a great way for anyone to start their day.
I felt like I was nagging.
She felt like I was nagging.
Our tone of voices were not kind and loving.
Tears were shed.
When she was younger, we used to draw pictures to give her visual clues for expectations, on a whim one night last week, I made this checklist for her and set it on the table.
Using a Checklist for a More Effective Morning Routine
She woke up, trudged to the table, and slumped down by the empty bowl (I set as much out the night before as I can). I could tell she read it because she moaned, “I need a pen.” Chuckling to myself (I am a morning person) I handed her one. She set it beside the paper, ate her breakfast, and checked off that part of the list.
Then, she went to the bathroom and brushed her hair and her own teeth, ran to the sheet, and checked off that line. Continuing through the list, she didn’t once need a verbal reminder or fuss about any step. It was AMAZING! She was ready and waiting at the door at 7:00 while I put her brother’s shoes on.
In her sweetest voice, she asked, “Would you please laminate the list so I can use it again tomorrow?”
Admittedly, our list isn’t the prettiest, but I think that is what makes it special! She has used it consistently for a week with absolutely no complaints. As we get better in our routines, I believe that she will rely less on the list, but it is laminated for her – just in case.
If your weekdays out-the-door routines are stressful – take time to think about what you can do to make them go smoother this weekend. You could make a picture list for a non-reader, set clothing choices out the night before, write down a breakfast menu for the week, or even write a special message on your fridge to keep you in a positive mood.
Sometimes a little preparation on parents’ part makes a world of difference. Now is the time for PARENTING WITH PURPOSE!
UPDATE: We have now used this morning checklist for 2 weeks. I have no idea what I did without it. Although all of our morning routines are a little different – I made a prettier version to share!
What do YOU do to make your mornings a happy, non-stressful part of your day???
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