- No TV on school mornings. It can be impossible to perfectly include a television show from beginning to end within the morning routine. There’s just too much to get done, and if it doesn’t start exactly when it needs to, a show can run long and everyone is late. TV also has a nasty habit of turning happy, well rested kids into uncooperative, immovable objects!
- Set an Alarm. There are lots of kid friendly alarm clocks out there. Let kids choose one, set it themselves and teach them how to turn them off each morning. An ounce of independence can go a long way.
- Decide the night before. We love the idea of letting children choose clothes and dress themselves – it’s fabulous for building independence and boosting confidence and self-esteem. So YES, let them makes those choices, but do it the night before. Have a place where clothes are set out, or a fun little basket or bin to place them in, and make it part of the bedtime wind-down routine, rather than becoming an invitation for conflict in the morning.
- Get it together. And speaking of bins and baskets, have a central place where each child’s school items belong. Whether it’s a cubby, a hook, or a basket/bin, place anything and everything that needs to go to school in one place. As lunches get made, they get added. Permission slips? Homework? Added. When it comes time to leave, they can simply grab-it-and-go. And when everyone comes home from school, guess where they can toss their gear? Yep. Right back in the back-to-school bin.
- Establish good sleeping habits. A well-rested child is much more agreeable come morning (and more successful at school too!) If your child doesn’t seem refreshed, happy and motivated in the morning, more sleep could help. Try to inch bedtime up slightly for a few nights in order to claim some precious extra minutes of sleep. Ten to 15 minutes more might just be the key to a happier morning.
- Excuses, excuses. Don’t provide your child with inappropriate excuses for not going to school. Remember, their school habits are the beginnings of adult habits like work-ethic and self-motivation. If we are healthy, we are going to school. Be sure that nighttime activities like extra curricular commitments, TV, or homework are completed well before bedtime and don’t interfere with your efforts to wake-up each day rested and ready to go.
- Listen. If your child is completely healthy, and rested but doesn’t seem to want to go to school. Find out why. Talk to teachers as necessary to determine what other factors could be causing your child to feel this way. Screaming and yelling to get a child out the door in the morning whom we think is simply dragging his or her feet, won’t do much good if the real issue is something deeper like school anxiety, fear of a test or event at school, bullying – or something completely different we didn’t even think of!
- Do what I do. Lead by example and be sure you are taking your own advice. Your energy and mood in the morning is contagious. Be well rested yourself. Choose your clothes the evening before and be sure you are allowing yourself ample time to get ready and be available for assistance, questions and the occasional snags (epic fails) during the morning routine.