Week day morning routines can be crazy busy – lots of people with places to be by a certain time! If children are rushed they’ll go into school this way which really can affect their learning so it is important for their morning to start off calm and relaxed. Children thrive on routine; they need to know what is going to happen and when it will happen in the knowledge this will not change.
Here are some tips and ideas of how to help your mornings run smoothly. Some are incredibly simple yet highly effective. They have all been tried and tested, most of them at Breen Towers!
Consider getting up before the children are up
This is a life changing idea – having some quiet time before the day starts, on your own; to be able to sit and have a hot drink in peace and quiet! It does require you to get out of bed earlier than you’d probably like but it’s worth it! You’ll (hopefully) feel rejuvenated and awake ready to face the day by the time the children wake up.
Prepare breakfast the night before
This is simple yet so effective – get all breakfast bowls and cups out the night before. Anything that can save you time is useful!
Prepare water bottle / packed lunch the night before
Making and preparing packed lunches and water bottles the night before and storing them in the fridge will save a lot of time in the morning; just remember to take them out before you leave the house – perhaps a note on the fridge will help to remind you!
Get any clothes / uniform out
Ensuring all clothes for the next day for both you and the child/ren are prepared, clean and ironed the night before will help towards ensuring your morning is calm! Consider giving each child their own box/shelf with everything they need that morning. Not only will this give children some ownership and responsibility it will ensure everything is in its rightful place and ultimately will make your life easier!
Use a Gro-Clock for early risers
If your little one is an early riser a Gro-Clock is amazing – set it to the time you’d like them to get up and explain to them how it works. The sun will ‘stay asleep’ until the time you set it, e.g. 7am – at this time the sun will wake up and this is the time your children can get up. Explain to them that they should not get out of bed until the sun rises (unless they need to use the toilet or are hurt etc!). This is a great investment to make.
Use a daily checklist checklist for the children to give ownership and an overview of expectations
Children are much more likely to engage in routines if they understand them and know what to expect. Giving them a routine chart which allows them to tick off each activity is much more likely to engage children and make morning earlier for you all. We have designed a morning routine chart which can be downloaded FREE here on our website; sticking it on the door works very well. If the child completes all activities within the allotted time, a simple reward might work well – something simple such as listening to their favourite song / theme tune on Alexa can be effective.
Give a small, simple reward once they are all ready to leave
Once the child has completed their daily checklist and have their coat on and belongings all ready, you might like to give a simple reward – a popular one that works every time at Breen Towers is listening to their favourite song on the Alexa – this also gives you a few minutes to triple check you have everything you need. The song choice can be changed, children can take turns in the case of siblings etc.
Keep the same routine
Children thrive on routine – they like to know exactly what is going to happens so once you have established a routine that works try to keep to it – children are more likely to engage with it if it is consistent. If the next day’s routine is going to be different for them, perhaps you have a day off work or they have a non-school uniform day, then it is vital for you to remind them of this before they go to bed and then again when they wake up in the morning. As it is different to their usual routine children need time to process this; some children might cope better than others, infact some may not be at all bothered about it, but it is better to avoid an emotional meltdown that it is to deal with one. It is for this reason that this has become standard practise at Breen Towers.
Consider when your get your child dressed
There’s no denying that children can be messy eaters..! It is therefore important for you to consider at what point in your morning routine the child/ren get dressed. After breakfast is a popular time – this way there are no concerns that they’ll get their uniform dirty meaning you’ll need to iron a new set of clothes whilst trying to do everything else.
If you don’t need to get a younger baby dressed before the school run, don’t!
If you have a baby who needs to join you on the school run but doesn’t have to be at nursery or a child minder and you are heading home afterwards, consider getting them dressed when you get home. Ensure they are clean and warm, then make things easier for yourself – bundle the baby up in their pyjamas and a warm coat and blanket to ensure they are snug and comfortable, then get them dressed in their day clothes once you get home. It will undoubtedly ease your morning stress.
Have early nights
If you’re getting up early to have a peaceful cup of coffee or tea you’ll need to have some early nights. Try and head to bed early during the week – being rested will help you to cope with stresses of the morning!
Use a countdown
Depending on the age of the child, having a countdown can be challenging and exciting. Give them a realistic countdown to get dressed, ensure they experience success but are encouraged to hurry a little. Using Alexa means the countdown is more interactive and the child can check their own progress.
There is no denying that mornings can be hectic and stressful so hopefully our tips and ideas will make things a little easier! The key to easier mornings seems to be planning! Be planned and prepared!