Establishing a Successful Morning Routine for Your Kids

Childcare - The YMCA child care staff offer tips for a smoother morning

The change of seasons is upon us with shorter days, cooler weather and leaves beginning to change colors. That can only mean one thing: school days are back! Maybe this is the first year of your child’s educational career, or maybe you are on your sixth year. Either way, implementing a proper routine can make mornings a lot easier for everyone in your family.

Rise and shine!

Waking up a half hour before your children will help you set your family up for a successful morning. Stretch, drink your morning coffee, get dressed and packed for the day all before you hear a peep from anyone else in the house. Encouraging your children to get ready for their day can be challenging enough, so why not be ahead of the game?

If you are rushing around the house frantically trying to accomplish things last minute, your children will sense your stress, which will reflect their attitude too. Losing your temper is a huge setback and there are ways to dilute the situation. Try sitting silently with your child on your lap for a few minutes. You may be surprised how fast your morning can transform once you establish the right connection. Children are able to forgive and forget easier than you think.

Who needs sleep?

We do! Make getting the proper amount of sleep every night a priority. You will be thankful the following morning when everyone in the house feels refreshed and cheerful. Check out this handy sleep chart broken down by age to see how much sleep your children actually need.

Repeat after me: there is no such thing as too much preparation!

The more you can accomplish the night before, the better. Have your child prepare their backpacks with completed assignments and books needed for the following day. Encourage them to lay out the outfit they would like to wear. Even better, on Sunday afternoon take 10 to 15 minutes to help them plan their outfits for the week. Use a closet organizer, bins or simply place tags on each hanger and mark each with a day of the week.

Pack easy and healthy lunches for yourself and children. Check out some creative lunch box ideas here that won’t break the bank. While we’re on the topic, how about prepping make ahead breakfasts too? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and many people skip it due to lack of time.  

Morning routines are a great way to teach your children self-sufficiency and have them take ownership of tasks. Get creative and draft a morning routine chart. Include no more than ten simple things, such as: brush your teeth, put on your shoes and eat breakfast. Try not to stray too far from your children. Even if they are capable of getting themselves dressed, they still may need the physical connection to keep them motivated.

If you are lucky enough to have a child who is ready ahead of time, have an activity box to keep them occupied until everyone is ready to head out the door for the day. Fill it with books, games and toys to keep their minds occupied. Every so often, change the items so they don’t get bored.

These are only a few tips to help activate a successful routine. Mornings are short and it’s best to have a plan. Walking into it with a blindfold on will only cause chaotic stress. Sit down as a family and discuss how important it is to work together and get everyone out the door happily.