Before the first day of school every family should have a plan for the new morning routine. Why? Because good routines help you remember all you have to do to keep life moving smoothly. All busy moms need them to keep the family running with efficiency. Routines also become second nature so you can practically do them in your sleep! To establish one for your family, here’s what you have to do:
Start with the time that each family member needs to be out of the house in the morning and work backwards to establish what time you need to get up. If your child likes to sleep until the last possible minute, then she will only have time every morning to do the essentials such as get dressed, make her bed, have breakfast, brush teeth and head out the door. If your child likes to take his/her time in the morning then you’ve got to establish an earlier wake up time to allow for that. Talk to your children about what they need or want to do each morning and you as parents have to estimate the time all that will take.
Once you have a list of “to do’s” for the morning, think about the most efficient way for your children to do them. You can do a physical prioritization like do everything upstairs first, then come down for breakfast. Or you can set up the routine by doing most important tasks first like eat breakfast, then get dressed & make your bed.
Once you have established the morning routine, you need to train your children to follow it. Here are several options.
- Visual reminders. This could be a chart on your child’s bedroom door or mirror. Pictograms are the easiest to use. Either draw them yourself or download some clip art on your computer. Keep it simple: a bed, clothes, toothbrush and a healthy breakfast. That should tell them all the basics. Add other symbols as necessary.
- Another way to remind them visually is to lay things out like their clothes, library books or musical instruments as they need them for school. Put them in an obvious place so they can’t be missed.
- To remember their “special” classes,like gym or library, that may only happen once a week, you can post a chart in the kitchen. Get them in the habit of looking at it each day so they know what they need to bring or wear to school.
- For a very tactile approach, you can make up index cards for each chore and have the child flip them over or put them in a certain place after they have completed each task. For example the cards can be on their dresser in the morning and then brought downstairs when they have completed them.
Set up your routines a few weeks before school starts and hopefully in a month or so you may not need the visual reminders or the mom nagging to get everyone out the door, on time with all that they need for a successful day!
And don’t forget the evening routine. Designate a place for your kids papers, homework, backpacks & shoes. Talk to your kids about whether they can do homework right after school or after dinner. Do they need a quiet place like a desk in a bedroom or do they need to be in the kitchen or dining room near mom & dad? Set up the homework area and then hold them to the routine each night. Remember place for everything and everything in it’s place.
What routines do you have for the school year?