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Peaceful Mornings - Yes, They are Possible!

In our society, children are often hurried and given orders, particularly in the mornings. Parents often share that this is when they might find themselves becoming less than pleasant with their young ones.

It's crucial to pay attention to how mornings unfold because they set the tone for the day. We want them to arrive at school feeling happy and calm, not stressed. Arriving late can disrupt both the child and the class, so it's beneficial to establish an efficient morning routine and strive to avoid being late.

A successful morning actually begins the night before. Here are some ideas:

  • Tidying up

  • Having the child pack their school bag and/or lunch and place them by the door

  • Checking that shoes, boots, coat, snow pants, TWO mittens, hat, etc., are ready; providing low coat hooks and manageable storage near the door for these

  • Laying out clothing for the next day

  • Bath

  • Using the toilet

  • Pajamas

  • Snack and/or drink (if bed wetting is not a problem)

  • Brushing teeth

  • Enjoying pleasant stories – no monsters or disasters, and no television in the evening; light from any screen hinders sleep.

Start the evening routine with the essentials, followed by some pleasant, quiet time together, perhaps reading stories, saying prayers, tucking in, and expressing your love for your child. This could all be done by candlelight.

Your child should go to bed at approximately the same time each evening to establish a sleep habit. Most young children need a bedtime of 7:30 or 8 p.m., allowing for ten hours of sleep or more.

Plan an evening routine for yourself as well. Prepare for the morning and plan for eight hours of sleep, or whatever you need to feel rested. This helps you to be pleasant in the morning!

Get up at least half-hour before your children so you have time to get yourself ready, uninterrupted. Then, greet them with a smile! This sets the tone for a good day.

Children’s morning routines may include the following:

  • Getting up on time, using an alarm.

  • Making the bed. Simplify bedding, perhaps using just a duvet.

  • Using the bathroom.

  • Getting dressed in the clothing chosen the night before. Provide clothing that children can put on independently.

  • Brushing hair and teeth

Once these steps are complete, they may join you for a lovely breakfast. Instead of nagging your children, you've spent the last little while preparing this breakfast. I call this the "Muffin Method." Remember, no nagging. They will know what needs to be done once the routine is established.

If they are ready early, reward them with time spent in an activity they enjoy. Perhaps they have 20 minutes to play outside before they leave. (Note: Getting outdoors before school aids concentration).

What’s your routine now? Searching for shoes, laundry, the school bag, car keys…

Easier mornings start the night before. Do everything you can ahead of time.

For both morning and night, observe how long it takes your child to get ready independently, with no unneeded help from you. Allow this much time, plus some extra.

I find that children respond better to nonverbal cues than verbal reminders. Instead of repeating “Time to go!” numerous times, I would just get my jacket and keys and slowly head for the door, about 10 minutes early. If a child is not ready and it is time to go, I put a young child in the car “as is” (unless it is dangerously cold). They might get dressed quickly in the car (they must be buckled before we depart) or at school. This could be too embarrassing for some children, but it can be a very effective logical consequence.

Once your mornings are running smoothly, you may find you have some extra time. Enjoy that time together reading a book, playing a game, playing outside, listening to music, or having a conversation—something healthy that your child especially enjoys. No television before school – it has a sedentary effect on children and adults alike.

What are some of your favorite morning routines? Feel free to share one in the comments below!

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