Let's go! Let's go! Come on! I don't know where your favorite jeans are! What do you mean you still have homework? Did you brush your teeth yet? Let's go! I'm leaving… NOW! Get in the car!
Parents, I hope your back-to-school morning doesn’t sound like that above. If it does, it's not too late to turn that ship around. The key to having a stress-free morning routine is to have a smooth bedtime routine. Remember, a routine is something that is followed regularly, standard procedures. Without consistency, you will have a continual uphill battle.
Here are some tips for a stress-free morning routine that will help you and your kids:
- Early to bed, early to rise. That one is simple. Enforce a regular, early bedtime.
- Have kids pick out clothing the night before - getting their involvement in choosing leads to happier children that are less likely to give trouble getting dressed
- It’s recommended that showers and baths be taken at night, especially for the kids. You think you'll have time in the morning, but you rarely do.
- No yelling, no matter what. Raising your voice only escalates matters.
- Look over all homework for completeness before bed; don't assume it's finished.
- Before bed ensure lunches are made and backpacks are packed. This ensures that there are no surprises in the morning
- Give singular instructions. Don't say, "I want you to finish your homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, comb your hair, and brush your teeth." Make each instruction significant on its own. One instruction at a time works wonders.
- Set consequences and stick to your guns. If you tell your child the car is leaving at 8:15 sharp, make it happen. Clearly, you can't leave your child behind, but tell them you will be leaving whether they are ready or not. Sending a 10-year-old to school with uncombed hair, pajamas, and mismatched shoes might help get the message across.
Getting back to school and into a regular routine is a very stressful event. Remember: you are the parent; you set the tone for the morning. You need to be actively involved in the morning routine.