Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Tips to Make School Mornings Run Smoother

It's going to be 108 degrees today and Noah's already been in school a week and a half.  A week and a half!  Can you believe how quickly school starts!  My mind is still reeling that I actually have a kindergartener.  How did we ever get to this place?

As kids are gearing up to start school all over the country, I thought I'd share with you just a few little tips that have gotten us through so far.  I'm sure as time goes on this list will grow, but for now, here are my top five tips for getting through the mornings:

1. Prepare what you can the night before:
Everything you can!  Right now, I'm packing snacks and lunches the night before, the kids pick their clothes out and lay them on the couch, and shoes get laid out as well.  Homework, workbooks, and library books all get rounded up and put in the backpack.  Anything that has to be signed is done and packed the night before.  Do what you can the night before and it will stretch that limited time in the mornings.

2. Start with a full stomach:
I know some mom's require their kids to be dressed before breakfast.  Just the opposite works for me.  If my kid is hungry, the whole world is falling apart.  Starting with a quick hearty breakfast puts everyone in a better mood.  We made quick breakfasts around here:  eggs and toast, yogurt and fruit, leftover pancakes from the freezer, or oatmeal.  Quick, fast, and lasting.  Puts us all in a better position to listen and follow Mama's directions.

3. Create a chart:
We created a chart last spring.  There were six items on the chart: turn off night light, eat breakfast and clean up, get dressed, put away jammies, brush teeth, put on shoes.  We put a picture next to each one so that our non-reader still knew what needed to be done in the morning.  It also puts more responsibility on your kids to get ready in the morning.  If they ask what needs to be done, ask them if they've checked their chart.

4. Play some music:
Music in the morning is calming for me and my kids.  Music can be used to create so many moods.  Often I'll start the morning with something calm as they're first getting up.  But then we pick up the tempo after breakfast.  It keeps everyone moving and generally keeps us from grumbling with each other.

5. Limit screen time:
Most mornings the TV and computer are off limits.  But on occasion I'll allow a little screen time.  However, everyone needs to be up, dressed, and ready to head out the door.  If we have a few minutes still, I'll consider something extra.  This teaches your kids that their responsibilities have to be taken care of first, then comes the reward.  If someone's moving their feet slowly in the morning, Mommy's not going to reward that behavior.  Sometimes we have to do the hard stuff before the fun stuff comes.

These are just a few of the things that help us get out the door in the morning.  Some days are good are some aren't so good; we're still a work in progress.

Do you have an special tricks for getting ready on a school morning?

*Linked to these Parties


Kristin said...

Those are all really great ideas. I think I'm going to have to start having my son pick his clothes out the night before. That seems to be out sticking point in the morning.

Harper said...

Good list! I especially like the one about turning on some music.

When I was a child (the 80's and 90's), tv was an afternoon activity. We didn't watch it in the morning. Kind of the child's version of not having hard drinks early in the day--soda was also off limits until afternoon.

Amy said...

I am so glad you linked this up. This is a big help to a ton of people. THanks. Have a great weekend..

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