Back to school means back to school mornings - ugh! If you're like most parents, the mere thought of getting everyone ready for the day makes you want to pull the covers back over your head and throw the alarm clock out the window. Luckily, there is hope. Keep reading for some tips that you can use to avoid the chaos, disorganization, and those morning meltdowns for you and your child.
1. Establish a morning wake time and an evening bed time
Keep it the same each morning and night, even on weekends with some room for flexibility. Begin to get your child into that groove one week before the beginning of the school year by setting bed-time 15 minutes earlier each night (until you hit your target bed time) and wake your child up 15 minutes earlier each morning. This way, your child's body will start to become tired each night at around the same time.
2. Establish a before bed routine
You can create a list or a visual list (with words, if you like) with the sequence of things your child needs to get done before going to bed (e.g., put back pack by front door, put shoes by back pack, etc). You and your child can go through the sequence together, to begin, until your child is able to commit it to memory.
3. Do as much as you can the night before
That is, avoid the morning time rush by completing many of those 'tasks' the night before. For example, take a shower, make lunch, and select clothes to wear for the next day, including socks, hair ties, jewelry, and other accessories at night instead of in the morning. It is also helpful to set the table with the morning breakfast bowls and silverware!
4. Everything in its Place and a Place for Everything
Parents and children alike should have a place to put backpacks, works bags, car keys, lunch boxes, etc. This will help everyone to avoid the "I can't find my XXX" blues in the morning when time is limited.
5. The AM routine
For some children, having to hear mom or dad say, "brush your teeth" can trigger a meltdown or argument. Help create a personal sense of responsibility for your child that will actually boost his/her self-esteem. Instead of reminding, create a written list or a visual schedule of the morning routine. That way, you can say, "What's next on your list?" instead of "Did you put on your socks yet?"
Dr. Matheis is a
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist, Parent Advocate and Educational Consultant. Sometimes parents need a "personal touch" to get the morning routine right. Dr. Liz Matheis, a fellow Mom and parenting expert in your neighborhood, provides targeted techniques to help you and your family get on track. You can contact Dr. Metheis at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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