How We Do Mornings
Oh, the morning routine for school. It can be difficult just for adults, certainly so for children. I made some changes this school year to our morning—a morning that is now especially loaded with all the boys in school. We do manage to get ready on time each day and the kids are ready for the bus when it shows up. But I tend to be harried when kids don’t stick to the routine.
The Morning Routine for School that Works for Us
We pick clothes out for the week. If outfits are picked out for every day of the week, there should never be any surprise shortage of underwear. Also, doing this allows us to make sure clothes are ready for special events at school (wearing certain colors, career day, whatever). And it’s especially helpful when the pilot is gone for a week at training and I have all the boys and All The Chores all to myself. My boys are 6, 8, and 10. The 10-year old can pick his clothes out. The 8-year old sometimes does, and sometimes I do and sometimes we do it together. I still help the 6-year old boy. Note: Picking out clothes in advance is a great chore for children.
We use alarm clocks. And I can’t describe how wonderful it’s been. I started this a few months ago; Mom getting kids out of bed, especially the ones who don’t live for mornings, wasn’t a good start to our day, I essentially assigned this responsibility to the alarm clocks, a simple technology. I love it. The kids do not, but they have survived. And thrived. In fact, the older boys tend to rise up quite quickly to be the first one out of the bedroom because neither wants to turn off the alarm. See how beautifully this works? 🙂
Breakfast is ready. Of course, there are days I’m running behind. But breakfast is the meal that helps out the most to have made ahead of time. We usually have food in the refrigerator or freezer we can heat up quickly on days when things are askew. And the kids know how to do a little breakfast prep themselves.
Everyone must be dressed to the shoes before breakfast. This means backpacks are packed with lunch boxes and homework and are set by the door. Knowing everyone is ready before breakfast allows time to work for us. I read to the kids, which we love doing in the morning, or we have time to chat. The only thing they have to do after breakfast is to clean up their dishes and brush teeth before the school bus shows up.
We have a checklist for one child and routine cards for another. Not everyone needs these, (and frankly, I have work to do on myself so the boys will rely on these and never my yakking voice moving them through the routine). We use these as is a reference point (even I need a checklist for certain things). Routine cards with images can be a great support for children with special needs (autism, anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities) or who who simply need some added structure to move through routine.
Of course, if all goes as planned, the hope is that this all works for independence, and that the next blog post of this type would be: The Morning Routine that Gets the Kids Out the Door—On Time and On Their Own.