If you have school-age children, you’re well aware that some mornings can be difficult. Even highly organized children have a few mornings each month where there is a melt down and things fall apart.
Here are a few tips to help get your children (and you) out the door on time:
Is your child getting enough sleep? When children go through growth spurts, they often need more sleep than at other times. If their courses are more difficult this year than in the past, they might need more sleep to mentally process all that they’re learning. Talk with your child’s pediatrician to determine what is the best amount of sleep for your child.
Are parents ready before children? It’s easier to help your child in the morning if you’re already up and prepared for your day. The younger the child, the more important this is.
Have you planned for 15 extra minutes? No matter the day, you should always plan an extra 15 minutes into your morning schedule. Don’t have a super tight schedule, because if things go wrong your child will be late for school. When an emergency arises, it’s wonderful to have the additional time.
Are materials set the night before? Clothes, packed backpack, extra curricular sports or dance bag, lunch (in the refrigerator, but ready to go), and whatever materials your child needs for the next day should be prepared before your child goes to bed.
Do you have an “out-the-door” checklist? All children (and even adults) can benefit from a checklist for what to remember in the mornings. I recommend typing up the checklist and laminating it. Then, let your child use a dry erase marker or a wax pencil to check items off the list before heading out the door. You can also add special items to the list (Don’t forget your signed grade card!) when there are daily items your child needs to remember. Older children might not need to physically check items off the list, but they should stop and review it mentally.
Do you scream or sing in the morning? The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin recommends in “Tips for being a more light-hearted parent” to “Sing in the morning. It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone—particularly in my case, because I’m tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.” Keeping a light-hearted mood can help inspire your kids to also have positive outlooks — which can help set the morning tone.
Is everything okay at school? If you’ve tried every piece of advice for getting your child out the door on time and still can’t do it, you might want to talk to your child’s teacher or a trusted person at your child’s school. There might be a bigger issue you need to investigate (abuse, bullying, isolation, etc.).
Check out Unclutterer’s “Don’t forget your materials” and the comments to the post for additional tips and tricks. Good luck!