How to make school mornings easier

With some amount of planning, you can control the morning madness and get your child out of the door on time…and smiling!

By Amita Bhardwaj

Each time you see an advert that shows someone lazing with a hot cup of tea and newspaper for company, if you are reminded of your own manic mornings, well, there are two sets of good news. The first is that you aren’t alone in thinking of mornings as one of the most stressful times of the day and the second that with some amount of planning, you can control the madness even if you cannot turn your household into a picture perfect space. So get your steaming cuppa ready and read on….

Ensure that the child is getting enough sleep

One of the major reasons that mornings seem ever so tough is that the kids aren’t rested enough. What follows is a bout of whining that can simply throw you off gear and leave you nursing a headache long after you have put the kids on the school bus and waved them goodbye. What is imperative, therefore, is to have the kids follow a routine that ensures that they wake up fresh. What helps is to put them to bed at the same time each day as also to have a small bedtime routine that gives them a sense of familiarity. So whether sleeping time is preceded by story time or cuddling time, ensure they get it each night! Also tech time just before they need to sleep is a strict no-no!

Start early

No one likes to be pushed around. So to wake up the child and follow them with a series of instructions on what he or she needs to do if they don’t want to miss the school bus isn’t a great start to the day. Having those extra 15 minutes on the other hand, will go a long way in setting the right tone for the day. Armed with these minutes you could cuddle with the child, play a little game or just connect over some shared interests, before the tasks of the day beckon! Also, children typically find transitions difficult and mornings are nothing but that. These few minutes that help the child establish a connection with you will make these transitions easier on them and leave you with an added zing too.

Offer choices 

This one follows from the fact that no one, big or small, young or old likes to be pushed around. So simply offering some choices—would you prefer cheese sandwich or cornflakes for breakfast, do you want to wear your shoes first or put the lunchbox in your bag—make the process smoother as the child feels in command.

Allocate jobs

Allocating age appropriate jobs beforehand also make mornings seem less like a battlefield. In the interest of time, you may want to run around and do everything yourself, but it works far better if chores are allotted to each person. From simple things like emptying the table after breakfast to making the bed, ensure everything is pre-discussed so there aren’t any rude reminders in the morning when time is a luxury. While on the subject it will also be prudent to mention that it needs to be made a matter of routine that everyone lays out their supplies for the morning, the previous night so that no time is lost in looking for things. If you have more than one child, it may also help in designating them as leaders by turn, so they can be in command and ensure everything happens timely. Fun games that instill a sense of healthy competition can also enliven an otherwise dull morning and turn chores into something that the kids look forward to.

Show and tell

Nothing works better than to be able to demonstrate the attitude you want to see in children. Remember, therefore, not to skip breakfast in the interest of time as you have some eager eyes watching you. Similarly, a whole lot of anxiety that you may display finds its way to the children as well. If mornings are about a whole lot of screaming and shouting, what you are also teaching kids is that it’s an acceptable way to handle crisis. Unless your job demands it, also try to keep the mornings tech-free. What you demonstrate to the child goes much further than any number of reminders or rules.

Here is to peace filled mornings that set the agenda for a fruitful day!

(The writer is Director – Curriculum with Footprints Childcare.)

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