How to Create a Morning Routine to Help Your Child Flourish
Morning routines are crucial to family life. Chances are you’ve already got a routine going in your home and mornings probably run pretty much on “autopilot.” Brush teeth, coffee, quick breakfast, fix your hair, jump online. And your kids: dress, breakfast, brush teeth, fight with each other. Monday to Friday, it’s a bit of a blur.
Most of us keep mornings to a rhythmic rush without a lot of attention to detail. All it takes to throw a haphazard morning into chaos is one sleep in, one forgotten task or one argument.
5 Tricks For a Calm Family Morning Routine
For children heading to school, especially those who live with learning differences who might face extra school-related anxiety, a peaceful morning can build confidence and calm for the day ahead.
That said, we know your days are packed and your to-do list never-ending. These 5 simple additions to your morning routine will make ALL the difference in your and your child’s day without requiring a 5am wakeup.
1. Start the Night Before
When thinking of your morning, let Evening-You do more of the work to help Morning-You succeed! While cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, perhaps you prep the coffee in advance or slice some fruit to serve with toast at breakfast. It takes only a few minutes more to “borrow” this time from the evening when we’re generally more relaxed, but the impact on a hectic morning can be immense. Breakfast already partially made? Coffee auto-brewing when you open your eyes? Winning!
It’s worth mentioning that a good night’s sleep is one of the most important strategies in your family’s morning success. Your little one will more easily comply with alarm clocks and morning hygiene routines when they are feeling rested and fresh. You’ll have more patience and they’ll be better able to focus!
2. Put Family Time First
Now that you’re organized for the morning and feeling calm, you can choose your morning priorities according to what matters to you and not just what feels urgent when you’re stressed. Making time to connect with your child can remind you both you’re on the same team each morning! Have coffee and breakfast together around the table and share something you’re looking forward to that day. Head around the block to walk the dog for ten minutes before you log in for work and school. Maybe even take turns choosing a morning song to blast while you tidy up after breakfast! Just a few minutes can make all the difference in all of your moods.
3. Share Schedule Responsibility
You probably have the family morning schedule all lined up in your head. In fact, it might seem so automatic to you that it doesn’t even occur to you that your child might not be on the same page. When they get distracted by the family pet or wonder why YouTube can’t be the natural progression from breakfast, it’s easy to get frustrated. Why can’t they remember what comes next? Well, not to be too obvious but have you ever told them? Pick up a dollar store whiteboard and make a grid of morning activities your child can check off. Younger kids can slide a magnet from activity to activity as they progress through the morning tasks such as breakfast, dressing themselves, brushing teeth, and giving the pets fresh water. Ownership for their morning responsibilities can help a kid stay focused AND build confidence.
4. Plot Out Exceptions In Advance
While most mornings will run much the same, Monday through Friday, the odd medical appointment or school bake sale can throw a wrench in your normally well-oiled machine. If your child has tutoring each Wednesday morning before school or therapy every Friday at noon, your morning routine will likely shift to accomodate these changed schedules. Use a weekly family calendar on the fridge or a shared digital calendar for older kids. Each evening as you prepare for the morning ahead, review the next day’s calendar and discuss what, if anything, needs to be adjusted. Does your child wake 15 minutes earlier for tutoring? Will you need to have a cold breakfast prepared in advance?
5. Set An Intention For The Day
Can positive thinking be a part of your child’s success startegy? You bet! Science has shown that speaking positively about ourselves aloud can actually change our brains and make us more likely to comply with our own goals and values. If mornings and the start of the school day are a typically stressful time for your child, setting an intention and/or speaking a positive affirmation can be a small but mighty step toward confidence. Around the breakfast table or while you share a quick hug upon waking, ask your child to share their goal for the day, no matter how small. You can lead by example with your own affirmation and keep it simple and actionable, like: “I am going to stay calm today and take a deep breath if I get frustrated.” Or: “I am going to do my best work.”
Tell us below: What morning routine helps YOUR family stay calm and on-track?