Most households will start a school day with a rushed breakfast, stressful bag-packing and mind-numbing struggle to get everyone out the door in time for various school, nursery and work commitments. Even for families that have practised the art of the morning routine for years and years, unexpected events such as a cereal spillage or the loss of just one school shoe can turn the whole thing upside down. Here at St Peter’s, we understand how difficult and unpredictable mornings can be, so we’ve come up with some of the best ways you can better keep control of the situation, keeping those morning tantrums and rushed coffees to a minimum, for the best possible start to the day.
Preparation is Key
This might go without saying but getting as much done the night before as possible will prevent the last-minute dash of herding everyone out the door on time. For example, packing PE kits, ironing shirts, preparing packed lunches and laying out clothes will all contribute towards a smooth, hassle-free week day morning to set you up for the day ahead. This will also make it less likely for things to be forgotten, as the night before you have more of a clear mind and will be able to take the necessary steps to ensure everything is accounted for.
Give Yourself Time
While lying in bed until the last possible moment is something we’re all guilty of, it probably isn’t the best technique for perfecting your morning routine. In fact, choosing to rush from the moment you sit up is telling of how the rest of your morning, and even day, might unfold. Instead, set your alarm slightly earlier, perhaps even enough time to enjoy a cup of tea in bed and catch up with the morning news headlines and think about the day ahead and what you would like to achieve. You can also wake other sleepy heads up slightly earlier so they too can avoid the pandemonium in the morning rush, arriving to our private school in Devon cool, calm, collected and ready for the day of learning ahead. You may find that setting earlier bed times, for both children and you, will increase the chances of this happening and will prevent you from feeling the consequences of an earlier start.
Cut the Screens
The increase of social media usage is guilty of many things in society today, one of those being procrastination. Scroll-happy fingers and thumbs can easily become side-tracked as they browse through the holiday pictures of an old co-worker instead of doing the daily tasks that need to be completed before you can leave the house. The best way to avoid this is by cutting out screen times altogether, so whether your pre-teen is ‘Snapchatting’, or your toddler is glued to the latest iPad game, putting a stop to it all will limit distractions allowing the entire household to focus on the task in hand. It might be easy to implement this rule to children, but ensure you practise what you preach and lead by example, limiting mobile phone or laptop use to essential work and business-related tasks only. Anything that can wait until they are dropped to the school gates should do so.
You might be familiar with the idea that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but we truly believe that the effects of a hearty, healthy start to the day cannot be emphasised enough. Whether breakfast for you means a slice of toast as you’re running out the door or a complete Spanish omelette with all the dressings, ensuring you have something to keep you going during what is usually the most productive part of the day is essential. Children, in particular, need as much energy as possible for them to make the most out of their education and rest-assured that any excess will be used during play times and lunch breaks.
Pat Yourselves on the Back
For every morning that you make it to school or work on time, remember to congratulate a job well done and praise your child for helping you with the dishes or packing their own bag whenever relevant. You can read more about How to Effectively Praise Children, as they are much more likely to continue to make a good start in the morning if it is recognised. Parents can also offer incentive rewards such as weekend activities or treats at the end of a week of on-time mornings. Establishing a healthy relationship with the morning routine for children will help them in later life as they can repeat the same values and ideals when they are only relying on themselves to get up and get sorted.
That concludes our guide to perfecting the morning routine. We hope it has provided some inspiration for how things can run a little more smoothly and that those mad dashes out the door with just seconds to spare become few and far between. That said, the unpredictable nature of children means that sometimes late starts are inevitable, but as long as steps are taken to keep this to an absolute minimum then don’t stress about the unavoidable. We hope those mornings become a little more manageable and you soon perfect a routine that works for you and your family.