The on-time back to school morning routine
By Alex Brooks |
Morning routines

Most parents expect to offer lots of guidance for toddlers and preschoolers, but the expectation for older school kids is that they should move through the morning in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, some children need remedial lessons for getting out the door on time without resistance.

When that first day of school arrives, it's time for mothers to become the getting-out-the-door coach. It's part of a parent's role to make sure that everyone in the family can move through the morning in a timely fashion and get out of the door on time, every time.

So in between helping with socks and shoes, putting toothpaste on toothbrushes, handing each child his backpack and lunch box as he walks out the door, you need to give verbal and visual cues. Here are some of Kidspot's best tips for an easy back to school morning routine.

  • The week before school starts, map out your own perfect the morning routine. What time do kids need to be dressed by, fed by and then organised by? Young children need practice to get the hang of this. For some, a pictorial chart explaining each step can help.
  • Start getting kids in bed early. Begin a week before school gets underway. You can't force them to sleep, but you can see they're snuggled in bed looking at books early enough to get a decent night's sleep.
  • Get yourself up and ready first. All goes more smoothly those first days when you're available to guide your children each step of the way.
  • Give reminders. Most kids learn to move through the morning routine in a timely fashion. Others need reminders until they are 35 that they need to brush their teeth each morning. To avoid endless nagging, don't forget to reward the good behaviours and timely organisation when you see it.
  • State the obvious. "Your uniform is on, now put on your shoes." Later, give one-word directives. Just say "shoes," or ask, "What are you supposed to do next?" so kids can get the hang of getting ready independently.
  • Avoid yelling and harsh treatment. Negative ingredients can quickly become embedded in the routine. No parent likes sending their child out the door after a screaming match.
  • You want your children up and out the door on time, and to move securely through the school day so each can reach her academic potential.

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This article was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading back to school resource.

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