A Stress Free Morning Routine for Back to School
Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.
Let's go! Let's go! Come on … you're going to miss the bus! I don't know where your favorite jeans are; it's not my responsibility. What do you mean you still have homework? Did you brush your teeth yet? Let's go! I'm leaving… NOW!
If your mornings sound like this, you're not alone. It's not too late to turn that ship around. The key to having a stress-free morning routine is to have a smooth bedtime routine. Remember, a routine is something that is followed regularly, standard procedures. Without the consistency you will have an uphill battle.
Here are some tips to a stress free morning routine:
- No yelling. Raising your voice, even though you're frustrated, is only going to escalate matters.
- Early to bed, early to rise. That one is simple.
- Showers and baths should be taken at night. You think you'll have time in the morning, but you rarely do.
- Look over all homework for completeness before bed; don't assume it's finished.
- Before bed ensure lunches are made, backpack is packed and there are no surprise "Oh I need xxx today!"
- Give singular instructions. Don't say, "I want you to finish your homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, comb your hair, brush your teeth and be in the car by 8:15." To a child, that sounds like "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah." One instruction at a time works wonders.
- Provide instructions once. If you're doing this, stop: "Johnny, it's time to get dressed." Two minutes later, "Johnny, we're going to be late if you don't get dressed now." Two more minutes later, "Johnny, honey, I told you to get dressed." "Johnny, Mommy is going to be late, now go get dressed." To a child that sounds like "Oh mom is good for asking about five more times before she really goes ballistic!" Repeated requests only send the message that junior doesn't really have to do it now.
- Set consequences and stick to your guns. If you tell your child the car is leaving at 8:15 sharp, make it happen. Clearly you can't leave your child behind, so leaving without her isn't an option. Tell her you will be leaving whether she is ready or not. Sending a 10 year old to school with uncombed hair, pajamas and an empty belly might be just the catalyst for change.
You are the parent; you set the tone for the morning routine. You need to be actively involved in the morning routine. Following the steps above will guarantee 'joy will come in the morning!'