#BackToSchool – Establishing a school routine

Children don’t understand time in the same way as grown-ups. This can make school mornings a stressful time of day for families.

The most useful way to reduce morning chaos is to set up a morning routine for school. Sticking to a morning routine for school helps your children predict what’s coming, and remember what they need to do.

The first step in your morning routine for school is to think about what you need to do and work out a plan for doing it. You’ll probably find that you and your child can do many things the night before.

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Here are some ideas:

  •  Organise lunches and set the breakfast table ready for the morning rush. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, and helps your child to concentrate better at school.
  •  Get your child to have a bath or shower the night before. This means you won’t have to worry about this in the morning.
  •  You might know something is going to come up that could cause conflict, like your child not wanting to eat breakfast, or wanting to wear sneakers rather than school shoes. Talk about it the night before when everybody has time and you’re all less likely to be stressed.
  •  Think about having a weekly schedule or calendar with reminders of what your child needs to take to school each day such as sports clothes, show and tell, and so on.
  •  Think about getting ready for your day the night before as well, to help ease time pressure in the morning.

If you set your alarm for at least 15 to 30 minutes before your kids wake up, establishing a morning routine for kids becomes so much easier and you’ll be setting the whole family up for a successful morning. Ideally you will be showered, dressed and packed up for the day.

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Here are more tips to take the stress out of mornings:

  •  Think about an alarm clock for children who find it hard to wake up or don’t like getting out of bed.
  •  Tackle the morning as positively and as optimistically as you can.
  •  Give your children calm, clear instructions about what you want them to do, and follow up with specific praise as soon as they start to cooperate. You might need to remind younger children more often about what they’re meant to be doing and when. Simple ‘to do’ checklists, even with pictures, can help.
  •  Cut down on distractions like television, tablets and other devices. Many families have a rule about no screen time in the morning. Think about leaving screens off, unless screen time is a special treat for being ready on time.

• Information obtained from www.greatschools.org; www.afineparent.com and www.raisingchildren.net.au.

Carmen Norton

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