For many parents school day mornings are difficult.
Last year was one of the most difficult years for me as it was the first year we put our kids in public school. Until that point, I had never really understood why many of my friends had a difficult time getting their kids up for school and out the door without a fuss.
However, once our children began the school day grind I realized it wasn’t as easy as it seems. We had worked so hard to maintain a happy peaceful home and I hated that I had to resort to drill sergeant like “motivational speaking” to get everyone moving.
That’s not the final memory of me that I want them to have if it were the last time they saw me.
Morbid thought, I know…
When this school year started I was determined to find a better way to start our day.
Teach your kids independence.
Of everything I tried to do, this one not-so-simple thing is what made all the difference. Once our kids were able to do things on their own, without being told, our school day mornings began to run like a well oiled machine.
There were a few things I did to help teach them to be more independent.
I made the kids do everything on their own.
This included making lunches, getting their backpacks together and laying out clothes, socks and shoes the night before.
Teach them how to get themselves dressed and how to tie their own shoes.
Having kids do this on their own teaches them independence and responsibility.
Now I didn’t just “throw them to the sharks” and let them flounder around until they figured things out.
I made them each a checklist.
Actually they each have 2 checklists. One for morning and one for evening.
I didn’t do anything fancy here. Just took a sheet of card stock from my scrapbooking stash and cut it from top to bottom into strips.
Then, I wrote down in list form exactly what they needed to do in the order they needed to do it in. Finally, I clipped a clothes pin to it so they could move down as they worked through their list.
Make your expectations clear from the get-go.
Here is what I expect from our kids each morning.
No whining, arguing or refusing to get up quickly. They are to do nothing else until they are done with everything on their checklist.
Whining and arguing, whether it is with me or a sibling, results in a loss of privilege for the day. Not getting out of bed easily earns them an hour earlier bedtime that night. Failing to finish their morning tasks (which are extremely basic things) before watching TV earns another loss of a privilege.
Don’t forget an early bedtime.
This is really important if you have trouble getting your kid out of bed. Our pediatrician recommended that our kids should get 10 hours of sleep a night.
They have to be up by 6am so bedtime is 8pm. Most of the time our kids wake up naturally right around 6am which means they have gotten the right amount of sleep.
Remember: early to bed, early to rise!
You must be very consistent.
Your kids must believe that you will follow through with consequences or they will never follow though with their responsibilities.
As parents, when we are inconsistent it tells our kids that something really just isn’t important to us. If it isn’t important to us, then why should it be important to them?
Once I started teaching our kids independence our school day mornings went so much easier. The kids picked up on what to do and when to do it pretty quickly as well.
As I have gone back through and read all that I have written, I feel like this comes across as though I am some sort of super strict control freak.
I assure you I am anything but that! However, I do value things like responsibility and mutual respect and I think my expectations here fall into that.
Also, I love that when we say, “see ya later” in the mornings it is with happy hearts.
Do your school day mornings go smoothly or do you find it difficult to get everyone going? I would love to hear in the comments below.