Building a morning routine for children is one way you can take on your mornings and win. It is also a really important first step to independence for your child as well as enabling the mornings to be more relaxed and quality. You will reduce and eventually eliminate the stress of getting children ready for school or their activities for the day and on time. They will build more confidence and pride. It also allows you to build a meaningful relationship with your child as the time you have in the morning will be relaxed and calm.
It might feel easier to do everything yourself, but getting them involved in preparing for the next day will teach them essential life skills like independence and time management.
In the article below, we will look at the steps needed and at what ages to introduce them. This can start at preschool as children get their own breakfasts and dress themselves. Most children by the age of 8 can get themselves out of the door and walk to school entirely on their own.
How To Get Children Ready for School
Start with creating a morning routine that follows the steps they need to do and the order of these activities. It depends on their age and a clear understanding of what is required to get them ready every morning. As with all things, allow time for one skill to be embedded before introducing another. This is not something to start one day, but rather phase in over a couple of months.
Here are steps to help you start building a morning routine for children:
- Start with a list. Start planning with a list because it helps you get organized. A good time to do this is during the school holidays when there is less time pressure than on the first day of school. Write out everything that needs doing by the morning and an estimated time for each task, and this will allow you and your child to see what time to get up and the sequence to follow. Then start this with a few weeks before the end of the holidays so there is no time restraint. It will take longer than thought!
- Early to bed, early to rise. A great day starts the night before. You may want to start the school year with an early sleep time and adjust later if it seems necessary. This chart shows how much sleep children should get depending on their ages. Subtract the number of hours they need to sleep from when they need to be up, and you’ll have an ideal bedtime. I find this chart an excellent way to talk about bedtimes with my child as it is all over the internet and can be presented as fact.
- Prepare the night before. Try to minimize the number of responsibilities everyone has each morning by doing stuff earlier. How early? The previous day. Let’s go back to the list. What can you do the night before? Making packed lunches, packing sports kits, and picking out and ironing clothes. It is reasonable for an 8-year-old to do all of these tasks. Yes, it will be frustrating for a while as it will take longer than if you did it yourself. However, we are looking to make a child more responsible in a few months. It will all work like clockwork.
- Get up before your children. Plan time for yourself too! It would be best to give yourself time to do a few essential things for yourself in the morning. For example, you could set your alarm to wake up 10-15 minutes before your children to have a quiet time of morning reflection, get your coffee, or even check your emails. You might want to unload the dishes from the dishwasher or even take your bath and get dressed. This helps you feel prepared, mentally and physically, to start your day. If you don’t give yourself time to do all these things. You might try to multitask while getting your children ready for school or the day. However, when you’re tired and your children are sleepy, multitasking will only increase your stress level.
- Don’t sweat breakfast. You can always prepare breakfast the night before, but don’t sweat it when that’s not possible or ideal for your family. Yes, breakfast is essential, and yes, it’s the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to create extra pressure for you or your children. You could plan some easy breakfast meals for your family. It is easy to think that an elaborate breakfast is showing your love. However, simplifying things will make it less stressful. The key is that you aren’t allowing breakfast to throw a wrench into the morning. Cereal and toast, perhaps fruit and yogurt, are all examples of breakfasts that the children can make and require no prep.
Points To Note
Few points to note when planning a daily routine for children.
- Firstly, to create a daily routine for children is to understand the timing of everything needed to get the children out the door on time. If you’ve never had a routine before, you might not know how long it’ll take you to complete your activities. Here’s a good suggestion: do all the activities on your list independently, when you’re not in a hurry or on the weekends. Then, as you do them, time yourself to get a good idea of what you’re doing and how long each task requires.
- As much as you can, stick to the routine and be consistent, especially during weekends, breaks, and holidays. Your children won’t benefit from the routine when deviating too much from the set structure. Please make sure that your children are still getting enough sleep, but you can enjoy the more relaxed pace of the weekend by making a special breakfast or reading their favorite stories to them before they must get dressed. If your family wants to take a trip or do something over a long break like the summer holidays, it helps get them back into the routine a week or two before school starts.
- Move as many things as possible to the night before, especially before any screens come on. Confirm all bags are packed and by the door.
- Have a designated space in your home where you keep everything needed for the next day. Backpacks, chargers, electronics, keys, shoes, water bottles, and other necessities. Doing so saves them from running around the house the following day looking for what they need. You could try this out and see if it works for your family.
- When children are little, parents often do everything for them. A new school year is ideal for looking at your child’s skills and adding new jobs to their morning routine. Instead of teaching these skills on a busy school morning, start teaching them during the summer holiday or weekends.
Final Thoughts on Building a Morning Routine for Children
If you want your children to take care of a chore you have previously done for them, like feeding the dog, making their lunches, or getting dressed, spend time teaching these skills when you’re not in a hurry. Do not try to squeeze lessons into an already busy school morning. There is no hard and fast rule here. Try out anything that catches your fancy, twist, and tweak it until you make it your family’s daily routine for children. The key is to get a routine and stick to it. If your child is doing a lot of sports or music it is possible that they will need more support, but again one of the main life skills they will learn from extracurricular is planning and organizing around that commitment. This is what makes them so employable!