School just started and mornings have already slipped into the familiar chaos of forgotten lunches and a lot of fussing. Parents are struggling to wake kids, still groggy from summer vacation, and kids are complaining about, well everything. There is good news, mornings can be stress-free with these tried and true methods.
1. Go To Bed On time
Children need their sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the amount of sleep a child needs depends on their age and stage of development. Once kids stop napping, it’s easy to assume that she needs less sleep. On the contrary, “Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems — irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression”, the study says. Children who get enough sleep tend to be healthier and happier.
2. Set An Alarm Clock
Considering how much time youth spend on their devices, the temptation to let children use their phones or iPads or Alexa to rouse themselves is high. Device alarms function similarly to an actual clock but with more bells and whistles. Kids can set personalized ring tones, hit snooze on their phones or convince Alexa to give them five more minutes. The problem is that some kids do not hear their device’s alarm, which means mom or dad has to wake their sleeping-past-time-to-get-up child. This leads to the first fight of the day. One suggestion is to use an old-school alarm clock. These machines are typically loud and grate on the listener’s nerves. Whoever is closest to the clock has to get out of bed and turn it off. Now standing, kids should make their way to the bathroom to get their day started.
Another suggestion is to set multiple alarms. If you are growing your child’s independence, allow them to set whatever device they want. Then, use a clock as a backup. Hopefully, between the two or three alarms, your child will rise and shine on his own every morning.
3. Get Organized the Night Before
Setting a nightly routine for collecting all of the things kids need for the next day will go a long way to having a pleasant morning. Encourage your child to pack snacks and. nonperishable items in lunch bags. Clothing, whether it is a uniform or not, should be laid out, so kids can slide into their outfits without having to hunt for socks, underwear or shoes. Find a designated area for clothing like their desk chair or the foot of their bed, if they are not a wild sleeper. Notebooks, pencils, pens, rulers, calculators, stuffies and water bottles should be inside their backpacks. Turning the house upside down trying to find homework wastes time. Before you know it, you’ve lost 10 minutes and now your child is late for school.
4. Create a List
As a family, decide what needs to happen to have a stress-free morning. Use a whiteboard or piece of paper to handwrite morning tasks. This should be done the night before to avoid kids constantly asking, what do I do now? The list should be short and doable. For example, making the bed, hanging up pajamas and washing up without being told to, are items kids can manage on their own. They will be responsible for crossing completed tasks off their list, thereby reducing parental hovering, and promoting personal pride. Your child will get the message that her responsibilities must be completed before breakfast, and parents feel good seeing their youngster growing into independence. While kids can make a list on their phones, they will most likely get distracted by Snapchat or Instagram and lose track of time. This is a set-up for tears and misunderstanding.
5. Set Goals
Going to school is not a solo venture, it is a family affair. Everyone, regardless of age, needs to be on the same page. Maybe your child gets up but then naps in the bathroom. Or, your daughter wants an elaborate hairstyle that you don’t have time to do. Agree on one or two goals to accomplish every week, and in time, your mornings should go smoother.