Only one word is needed to describe a typical morning in most households during the school year – chaos! School mornings are usually the epitome of a good plan gone wrong, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Everyone in the household has a contribution, both to the problem and to the solution, and it takes a collective effort to create a relaxed and efficient environment in which the household starts the school day. Stress doesn’t have to be a side effect either!
Timing is the most relevant factor in being prepared to start a school day. If timing is off, everyone suffers and stress mounts. The household has to function like a well-tuned orchestra, whereby every instrument is tuned, everyone is in his or her place, and the maestro is on the stand.
The following points will help you and your household be prepared to enjoy the day:
Organize and develop a morning and evening plan. Let children offer their input and have a trial run to test it
The plan should include such things as:
- Specific bedtimes, depending on a student’s age
- A specific time to get up that includes a “get up or else” warning system
- Bathroom times if it’s necessary to share the bathroom with others
- Identify and assign nightly and morning duties to everyone as needed
- A monthly calendar on which daily reminders will be logged and confirmed
Make any physical changes to the home that will help everyone be better prepared
- Arrange each person’s bedroom and bathroom to include a place for morning needs.
- Identify a place close to the front door for each person to place anything that will need to be taken to school the next day. Include such things as lunch money and permission slips.
Plan for after-dinner activities that will need to be handled. If necessary, assign everyone their duties
Night-time duties should include:
- Homework and quiet time. No television, music, or computers that are not being used for schoolwork. Set aside at least one hour for this purpose, depending on the age of the child.
- Baths and any other hygienic care that can be completed at night
- Clothes selections, including shoes, coats, hats, etc. for each person
- Packing schoolwork and accessories that are needed the next day
- Packing school lunches or counting out lunch money
- Preparing the breakfast table as much as possible i.e. set out cereal bowls and cereal boxes
Plan for morning activities that are to be completed before school
Morning activities and duties should include:
- Breakfast together as often as possible
- Hygiene/bathroom time for each person as previously planned
- Review of the daily calendar, and confirm any activities scheduled for the day
- Being in a good mood where everyone is happy and determined to have a great day
Parents must set the morning mood and control the chaos
- Organize your own routine in order to support the family plan.
- Be prepared for surprises, such as a forgotten backpack.
- Stay in touch with your child’s obligations by reviewing daily activity and homework schedules.
- Keep a calm and positive attitude. If you get rattled, everyone else will follow suit.
- Take enough time to talk about any afternoon or evening activities that the child can look forward to such as a special meal or extra free time.
Preventing chaos in the morning is definitely a family affair. By investing time in planning routines and enforcing the rules that come from it, everyone gets his or her day off to a better start. Failing to invest that time leaves the door open to disaster – and it will come! Try implementing some of the above suggestions in order to keep that door closed.