For some families, preparing for school in the morning and getting ready can feel like a bit of a blur. With so many little things to remember for everyone’s separate schedules, there is much to organise.
Luckily, there are some small, but handy things you can do to make your mornings run just that little bit smoother.
Who are These Tips For?
What your child can achieve in the morning will depend on their age. For example, older children heading towards secondary school next September will no doubt already have established their own morning routine and not be as motivated to accomplish things in the morning through praise and reward as it will, hopefully, have become habitual by now.
In this piece, we will mainly be looking at getting the youngest children on board in the morning, especially those ready for preschool education.
Prepare the Evening Before
This is the best tip which will make your mornings feel much smoother. There is nothing worse than lying in bed and dreading the next day because you feel chaotic and unprepared.
Preparing as much as you can the evening before will relieve much of the morning stress when rushing to get ready in the morning.
What to Prepare
This could include a variety of things, such as laying our school uniform ready for the next day, locating bags and ensuring all homework has been put in them, so the children don’t have to scramble any last-minute bits together before school. Ensuring your car and house keys are where they need to be and placing coats and shoes by the door ready to go can also help.
An extremely helpful one is to get breakfast ready as much as possible. This means laying out any bowls, cutlery and cups as well as ensuring that you have enough breakfast in! If not, you can explain the evening before that there will be an alternative option for breakfast tomorrow due to a shortage. This should, hopefully, avoid any sudden morning tantrums.
Sort Yourself Out First
Before you begin even thinking about others in the morning, it is essential that, as the adult, you also feel prepared.
In theory, it might seem like getting ready together on-the-go is the most suitable option. However, waking up that bit earlier to get ready for the day allows you to complete essential tasks distraction-free.
Ensuring you have taken some time out for yourself and cleared your own head for the day is integral to get the others in the household motivated also.
Create a Visual Chart
Creating a visual chart is especially helpful for the youngest so they can see their progression throughout the morning and also over the week.
Just a simple chart with the steps of the morning routine and the days of the week is enough. A chalkboard, whiteboard, or a pinboard are all suitable for this purpose, and you can be as creative as you want.
What to Include
You may want to include the simplest of tasks such as:
- Making the bed
- Cleaning teeth
- Washing face
- Brushing hair
- Having breakfast
- Putting clothes on
- Toilet check
- Coats and shoes
- Collecting lunchbox
Seeing what needs to be achieved will help to keep everyone on track throughout the morning and can also be used to make a note of additional things to remember that day.
Take a look at our article for more information on setting goals with children.
Explain the Routine in Advance
If introducing a new routine, or slightly changing it, it is best to go through it with the children the day before and not in the morning, as this will take much more time and be a lot of information for the kids to absorb, especially the youngest ones.
As you explain the task, you may highlight any technical issues, such as the order of tasks, for example.
Share out Small Responsibilities
When it comes to completing the morning routine the next day, try to encourage their independence of the tasks and encourage them to do specific tasks on their own. It may seem like much effort at the beginning not to do it for them; however, over time, it will be much more beneficial for them and you.
This could start off with simple tasks, such as making the bed first thing, and then one-by-one introduce more advanced tasks such as cleaning of teeth and getting changed.
Reward Good Behaviour
Tying in with the visual chart of the morning routine, you may want to reward the completion of tasks throughout the week with any weekly treats. For example, some parents allow sweetie/treat days after school on a Friday.
It goes without saying, but make sure you are encouraging your children throughout the morning and acknowledging their achievements with a ‘well done’.
Try to Keep Calm Throughout
If you are behaving and speaking with stress or urgency, this feeling will no doubt reflect onto the children, and they can end up feeling as though there is no control in the situation, which can only have a domino effect.
Calmer communication will create better responses by children, so try to keep shouting and raised voices to a minimum. Try not to hone in on bad behaviour, but instead reward the good.
Take a look at our top tips for why your child isn’t listening to you!
Try to Avoid Going Back Upstairs
As soon as children are in the comfort of their rooms and surrounded by their belongings, all focus is lost! Once they are ready and downstairs, try to keep them there.
Explain Any New Plans or Changes the Evening Before
If there is a change to the set routine the next day, such as someone else taking them to school or a change to school collection, again, informing them the evening before will be much better for them to register the information.
Not only will it avoid unnecessary confusion and feelings of anxiety in the morning, but it will also allow space and opportunity to ask any questions in advance of the next day.
Again, you can use the visual chart to add any of this information and fill out the routine together.
Hopefully, we have given you some useful guidance if you are struggling to get ready for school as a family in the morning. As a private boarding school situated in South Devon, here at St Peter’s Prep, we know the importance of a healthy and productive morning routine. Why not contact us today for more information on our boarding options, including flexi and weekly boarding.