With the school year right around the corner (for some of you, it’s already here) now is the perfect time to practice school-morning routines. How can you get the kids (and yourself!) out the door on time? Add some planning, add some fun, and subtract some of the stress from the morning rush!
PLAN Post a list of the morning routine where everyone can see it. Tailor the list to your kids’ ages—younger kids can follow a progression of pictures; older kids can read each step. Let the kids plan with you, then encourage them to decorate the list with stickers and markers.
PACK The night before, pack up backpacks and lunch boxes with your children. Remember to check and pack permission slips! Then help your little ones lay out outfits for the next day. Kids who tend to linger over wardrobe decisions will have more time to hem and haw without throwing off the morning.
DELEGATE Assign each child one or two consistent jobs in the morning, such as always putting breakfast plates in the dishwasher. Getting everyone involved is a great way to motivate good behavior! Here’s another tool: Use a Responsibility Chart (chore chart) so the kids can track their progress and earn rewards.
PRACTICE Do a dry run to work out the kinks. This can mean literally going through the routine, or shaking it up by changing roles. Let your little ones be the parents while you put on their backpacks for school! They’ll get a kick out of being in charge, and you’ll all gain a happy association with mornings.
Remember: The morning rush is tough for everyone—if you have some off days, it’s OK! Just try again the next day. And when you have a smooth morning, heap praise on the whole crew. After all, brushing teeth or finding shoes or picking up a bag might not sound hard to some people, but parents know that putting all those pieces together is no small feat!