The best part of summer is how unstructured it is. You can wake up late, lazily play in pajamas, and eat breakfast outside. Unfortunately, that is not the way a school day morning goes. There's rushing around, putting the alarm on snooze, fighting over clothes, scrambling for backpacks and lunchboxes, and hoping your kids make it to the bus stop on time. Sound familiar? Yeah, it's super fun.
When your kids are young, this can be an especially stressful time. School is new, the schedule is overwhelming, and if the morning is rushed, it can set the tone for a tough day. So use the last few weeks of summer to prepare your elementary age child for how her schedule will change. It will make her transition easier and hopefully make your morning go a little smoother!
- 1. A couple of weeks before the first day of school, slowly begin moving your child's bedtime back to what it will be during school nights. You can move it back slowly, by fifteen minutes each day, until you are at the appropriate time. A week before school begins, start moving her wake up time back as well, so that a few days before the first day, she's waking up to her alarm.
- 2. You can even do a few "practice mornings," where your kids practice getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast so they can "catch the bus" on time. If you take them out to breakfast for a job well done, then getting up early won't seem so harsh!
- 3. A week before school starts, lay out her clothes the night before. This will save you precious minutes, because you can save the, "You can't wear your shorts in the middle of December" argument for when you have time to explain the details of the weather patterns.
- 4. Packing lunch: A true time-saver! The week before school begins, take your child grocery shopping. Invite her to pick out a few things she'd like to see in her lunch. Encourage healthy options like carrot sticks and dip, peanut butter sandwiches and fruit, but give her a chance to pack a little treat too! When it's time to pack lunch, ask her to choose one or two things she'd like in her lunch and put it on the counter. You can add the rest, but she'll feel like she had some control over what she eats.
What do you do to help your children's school mornings move smoothly?
Sarahlynne, MEd, is an experienced educator. She blogs at merelymothers.com, where she and her co-founder discuss the controversial issues surrounding our generation's idea of motherhood.