The school year is back in session and many of us are trying to get our children out the door in the morning. I can’t even tell you how hard this is! This can be rough for kids, especially when transitioning back into a morning routine for school. They feel exhausted. Some kids have a hard time with the idea of being gone all day. You can help get your child out the door in the morning by following these tips:
Tips for Getting Your Child Out the Door in the Morning
Are you tired of fighting your child in the mornings? Morning routines can come with a lot of drama. However, there are some things you can do to take some of the stress out. You don’t have to be stuck in a rut of screaming and yelling to get your kids to listen to you. Here are some ideas for how you get your child out the door in the morning with less work on your part:
Going to Bed Earlier
According to studies, most kids are not getting enough sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can lead to problems with attention and focus, behavioural issues, drops in academic performance, and serious health issues.
You may feel as though your child can go to bed late and still wake up at a decent time. Pay attention to how your child does based on the amount of sleep they get. Experiment for a month and see if more sleep means easier mornings.
I know that an earlier bedtime can be a challenge, but on top of the health benefits, it can help them wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning. Note that it takes at least two weeks to establish a new habit, so you may not see changes right away when you implement a new bedtime. Be patient. In time, you may see that getting your kiddos out the door in the morning is easier than ever when they’ve had enough sleep.
Do any of your kids struggle with time management? If this is the case, then including a timer in your morning routine for school is a GREAT idea.
Some kids just need to know how much time they have. This is totally okay because each child has different motivators and using timers may work for your child in the mornings.
Instead of setting a timer for when they have to be out the door, set timers for smaller tasks such as ten minutes until their teeth need to be brushed and their face washed. Set another timer for them to “beat” for getting dressed and then another for breakfast and so on.
Visual schedules are such a great tool for kids. They allow kids to see what is coming next. They also give clear expectations about what needs to be done.
Having something visual to look at can keep kids on task, which in return can help kids get out the door in the morning.
Visual schedules were a game changer for us when it came to the kids’ morning routine. They were especially effective with our kids with special needs to break things into smaller tasks.
For a lot of kids, it’s easy to forget what they were doing if just told “get dressed”. If that same instruction is broken down into “underwear”, “pants”, “shirt”, “socks”, “shoes”, it is much easier to accomplish. But you’re busy too and don’t want to spend the morning nagging. This is where the visual schedule comes in.
Talk About Something to Look Forward to in the Day
Sometimes mornings are super rushed, which in return can take the fun out of the day. Talk to your child about something they have to look forward to in the day. Maybe you’re going to have a special lunch with them later that day. Perhaps a fun day at school is going to happen.
Giving your child something to look forward to helps them look ahead. Some children just need that excitement or that push to help them get out the door in the morning. You’d be surprised how much smoother a day can go when a child is focused on something that interests them.
Do you have a kiddo that gets overwhelmed easily? Taking a deep breath is a great stress management tool. When your child starts getting overwhelmed or they just need a little help getting through the morning, bring out the breathing exercises.
A simple “in through the nose, out through the mouth” works if they are not yet agitated, but you may need to take a bit more time and walk them through some calm down breathing exercises.
Brains don’t work well without fuel. Kids need food to function. Having them eat first instead of after they get dressed can make them do the other things on their list faster. It will also improve their mood and behaviour.
With everything happening on busy weekday mornings, it can be hard to come up with healthy breakfasts that are quick to put together or that can even be grabbed on the go in a pinch.
I like to use make ahead breakfasts so that they are in the freezer and ready to go.
Lay Out Clothes the Day Before
Sometimes kids struggle to make decisions in the morning, which can really put them behind schedule. A little trick that I learned in the start of my parenting years is to lay out clothes the day before.
This is so helpful because then the kids know exactly what they are going to wear the next day. Some of my kids even like sleeping in their school clothes the night before. This means they only have to get up, throw on some shoes, and be on their way!
Simplicity is best in some cases. As a parent, you need to know which battles are worth fighting and pyjamas are not a mountain to die on in my opinion.
If also helps to be sure that everything else is ready the night before such as backpacks, important papers, and school lunches. This small tweak in the morning routine for school will pay big dividends.
Thick Smoothies Through a Straw
This little trick of mine kills two birds with one stone. If you want to solve your kids being hungry and them being dysregulated or moody…Smoothies!
For kids who need a calming resistive sucking motion, thick smoothies through a straw is my go-to. This solves the hunger issue, the time issue, and helps keep your kiddo calm and focused. I make freezer smoothie bags ahead of time so they are fast to whip up.
When mornings are stressful and you have a child that is struggling with sensory overload, focusing on sensory input can be important. Sensory input can come in a variety of forms. Throughout my years of parenting, I have found some sensory input that works great on the go.
Some of my favourites for my kids are listening to an audiobook on the way out the door. As mentioned before, straws give great oral sensory input. Send your child on a visual letter hunt in a book. This works great for kids who need visual sensory input.
Heavy work activities are a great way to start the day off regulated and calm.
Waking Up Earlier
Some kids just need extra time to get ready. One way to get kids to wake up earlier is to get them to bed earlier. You may find that your kids are easier to get out the door in the morning when they wake up earlier. This isn’t always easy, but it does work for some children.
Leave Plenty of Time
This goes along with the “waking up earlier” tip. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for getting out the door in the morning. Try not to rush the kids with a short time period of getting ready.
Whether your kids take the bus to school or you drive them, there can be changes in timing. Note if there are reasons such as traffic, construction, or change in schedule that require you to leave the house sooner and adjust the morning routine accordingly.
I would love to hear your tips for getting your child out the door in the morning. What tips do you have to offer?
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