Today was the start of the school year for us, and I’m happy to say the morning went as smooth as it can for the first day of the year. We avoided meltdowns, my 3-year old liked her outfit and actually ate breakfast before heading out the door. Being once a student myself, I understand how stressful school mornings can get and as a mom- it’s even worse. Not only do I have to get myself ready but my daughter as well. While I’m definitely not an expert just yet, I did want to share some pointers that I think will help you get on the path to peaceful mornings with your school-aged kids.
1. Start Mentally Preparing The Day Before
Whether it’s the first day of school or you’re just trying to make some changes mid-year, I feel strongly about preparing kids mentally and emotionally for important days. For many young children, school can seem scary or intimidating. It’s important to talk to them often and in a positive way about school, their teachers, friends and how much fun they’re going to have. Once school is in mid-swing, begin the conversation on late Sunday afternoons with a reminder that school is starting again the next day so they aren’t shocked when you shake them awake early Monday. It will help them wind down both physically and be emotionally ready for extended times of sitting and learning that happens during the week. For young kids, keep talking about school when waking up on school days and during the drive to school. The older they get, the less your kids will need your help with mental preparation as they become experienced students. This has been extremely helpful in transitioning our family into school.
2. Agree On School Clothes With Your Kids
Half the fights over wardrobe choices in our house are a result of either my daughter or I not approving of the other’s choices. While I wish I could be her personal stylist forever, a 3-year old’s gotta do, what a 3-year old’s gotta do and that means having a say in what she wears. School mornings are not the time to argue over striped versus floral leggings and that’s why we try and pick out clothes the day before. I’m not the kind of mom who lets her kid wear whatever she wants (yes, it’s the Type A personality in me that she has to at least match) so this process is a joint activity. Usually it means I give her some options (that all match) and she can pick them out. No fights in the morning, and she’s actually excited to get dressed! As much as I know you love picking out your kids clothes, mamas, it’s not worth the fight!
3. Let Your Child Give Input For Their Lunch
Some kids are easily excited about the prospect of an exciting packed lunch or the opportunity to buy lunch at school. If you’re a naturally hurried person in the morning, it may be helpful to let your kids buy lunch a few times a week to give you one less thing to do each morning and to get them excited about school. If you prefer packing one yourself, let them give input on what they want to include (think about doing the same thing I do with outfits- picking a few items you approve and letting them select from just those options). Or better yet, have them pack the entire thing the night before or the morning of, so you can focus on other things and staying peaceful!
4. Turn Off Distractions
Kids are distracted by EVERYTHING. Televisions, tablets, toys- you name it. This morning I realized that the TV was on and no one was watching it because we were scurrying around trying to get everything ready. Just the noise along was making me feel anxious. Even if your kids aren’t sitting in front of the TV or actively playing a game on their tablet, I highly recommend putting it all away and turning it off when getting ready for school. Even a 5 minute delay can make you feel even more rushed getting everything to the car. And without all that drone going on in the background, you’ll be feeling more peaceful and patient before you know it.
5. Don’t Act Rushed
I’m going to admit that I seriously lack patience when I feel rushed. I also often use the words “hurry up,” which results in an attitude from my daughter. Then everything just snowballs and we both end up being snippy. I’ve found the key to her complying with my requests is to act normally. Sometimes I have to hide the fact that we are late, or that she is taking until the dawn of time to get in the car. But the alternative is me spending the morning shouting commands and her whining in return. When I think about it, I don’t want to send my daughter off to school with my poor attitude as the last thing on her mind. Besides, we all know that saying “hurry up” never actually helps anything, am I right?