The holidays are over, as well as late bedtimes and unhurried mornings. It’s time for school! The kids need some warming up, though. Mums, on the other hand, have to help them get used to the school morning routine. Start with these few back-to-school tips early on to avoid morning stress and struggles!
Establish a Sleep Schedule
Our kids may have gotten used to staying and waking up later than usual over the holidays. Without changing this habit, your little ones are likely to attend class without energy. Poor sleep also means tired and grumpy kids in the morning. So, here are some healthy sleep adjustments that you can do a few weeks before the anticipated first day of school:
- Set their bedtime 15 to 30 minutes earlier. Gradually adjust their bed and wake up times until their body clock gets used to them. Also, make sure they get adequate sleep based on their age (9 to 11 hours for kids and 8 to 10 hours for teens).
- Make their sleep times a routine. Have a consistent bed and wake up schedules even on weekends. Keep at it for a week or two to help kids make a habit.
- Avoid screen time before bed. Electronics keep our minds busy, making it difficult for us to fall sleep. So, make it a bedtime routine to turn off the TV or computer an hour before bed.
- Set the mood to help kids feel sleepy. Dimmed lights and a bedtime story should do the trick for little ones. For older kids, a few minutes of book reading or music listening should wind them down.
For parents, make it a point to wake up 30 minutes earlier than your kids. Then make use of this quiet time to get your work things ready, prep breakfast, shower and get your caffeine fix!
Make a School Routine Chart
Teamwork is the key to removing chaos out of your school morning routine. So, rather than do everything on your own, let the kids do their part. Teach them how to care for themselves and help out with chores. To keep them on track, create a school day checklist. This tip needs to be personalised, though, to match your household setup. Things you can include in the list are washing face, combing hair, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, dressing and grabbing school bag.
Sit down with your child afterwards and explain every step. Use pictures for younger kids so they can follow your instructions better. Then have mini celebrations for every outstanding performance. For instance, have a family picnic after a week of waking up on time or allow extra screen time on the weekends. Small rewards help kids learn that tasks and hard work aren’t so bad.
Practice the Night-Before Habit
Doing as many tasks ahead of time not only guarantees a smooth-sailing school morning routine. It’s a strategy to help us mums become less forgetful and more attentive to our kids. Plus, it is the secret to looking fresh at work even after helping the kids get ready for school. So, try to do these tasks the night before, and let your kids help out:
- Decide what’s for breakfast. Avoid asking the kids what they want to eat every morning as this will only cause delays. Instead, make a meal plan with inputs from your little ones. Post this on your fridge door when done. Then do some meal prep to lessen the time spent on cooking and cleaning up.
- Prep things for school lunch. Along with your meal plan, create a cycle menu for school lunch as well. If you have older kids at home, make it their task to prepare their lunch bag every night (bring out their water bottle, pack snacks, etc.). Mums, on the other hand, can set aside food items for the morning in one container. Check your plan if you need to defrost anything overnight.
- Pick out your OOTD. Prep your work clothes before going to bed and ask your kids to do the same. If you want, you can put a plastic drawer in their bedroom. Label the compartments with days of the week. Then ask the kids to fill each with their school clothes every weekend. Do this, and there’ll be no missing socks or shoes to look for in the morning.
Set Up School Zones at Home
Here’s a great tip to get your kids into school mode. Create areas for them to store and organise their school things. Here are some examples:
- Have a school bag and lunch box corner. If the kids are not homeschooling, ask them to place their backpacks to a designated nook when they get home. Then include “put lunch box in the sink” to their school routine chart. This way, you won’t find school bags thrown somewhere with lunch boxes left unpacked.
- Create a homework station. Find a quiet place at home where they can have a desk or table with a comfy chair. Bookshelves, pen holders and storage cabinets within reach would be great, too. If they need a computer for school, make sure electric plugs are also accessible.
- Put up a master school calendar. This tip can help you and your kids keep track of school requirements and events. If your little ones already know how to write, ask them to fill the dates with notes and reminders. Then make it a habit to check their updates daily. You can even use it to check on your kids’ schoolwork or ask how their school day went.
There may be other ways how to make your school morning routine a less stressful time. But one tip that I’m sure will work for all of us is to make mornings fun.
Wake your kids up with their favourite music playing on the background. Listen to them as they talk about their exciting plans for the day. Talk about your upcoming weekend activities. Then hug them before they go to class. Sometimes, a positive vibe (and patience) is all you need to make every school term a happy success.