Morning madness: Five tips to a better morning with your family
Struggling to get your mornings under control? Take time to plan ahead to fix the morning madness in your home!
Are your mornings stressful? Do you find yourself yelling at your kids to hurry up? Struggling to find the lost homework or missing gloves? It really is possible to tame the morning madness. Here are five steps by Michigan State University Extension to help reign in the chaos and start fresh each day!
- Early to bed, early to rise: A good morning begins with a good night sleep. Establish a consistent bedtime routine. For example, bath, bedtime snack, books and then lights out! Follow the routine consistently so that your children are familiar with the plan at night, and go to sleep on time. If your children are consistently difficult to wake in the morning, consider moving back their bedtime. Young school-age children should be getting 10-11 hours of sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, a recent study showed that just a modest increase in sleeptime, an average of only 27 minutes in this case, improved children’s ability to regulate their emotions, including impulse control behavior at school. Avoid TV and other screen time in the hours before bed, as research shows that screen time stimulates the brain and can make bedtime harder.
- Prep at night: Avoid the last minute rush by packing bags at night. Encourage your children to be responsible and have them find their homework, assignment notebooks and gym shoes by themselves. Consider providing a checklist to follow of items they take every day. Have children select an outfit at night as well, including laying out shoes, jackets and gloves, so there are no items left to locate in the morning. Pack lunches the night before and have them prepped in the fridge to just “grab and go.” The key to a successful morning can be as simple as planning ahead!
- Get an alarm clock: Make waking up your child’s responsibility. Provide each child with their own alarm clock. Help them learn to set it and manage their own time appropriately. If you have a large family, or one child who is a notorious sleepy-head, consider staggering waking times to allow each child the time that they need to get up and get ready to go on their own. If one child needs more time to eat, or another wants to shower in the morning insead of baths at night, help them decide on appropriate waking time and set their alarm clock accordingly.
- Provide breakfast: Make sure your children are eating a healthy breakfast. Consider grab and go items like fruit, cheese sticks and granola bars, or participating in school breakfast programs, if they are offered. MSU Extension recommends that everyone, kids and adults alike, eat a healthy and balanced breakfast to restart your body and the get best performance out the day! Research shows that youth who eat breakfast have higher test scores and do better in school.
- Kids responsibility: Learning to get up, get dressed and leave on time is an important life skill for children. They need to learn to manage their time wisely and prepare accordingly. Forgetting homework, or their recorder on music day is a life lesson. Resist the urge to “fix it” for your children and rush the forgotten item up to school. Instead, help them create a check list to follow to make sure they have everything packed and ready to go the night before. In the long run, they will thank you for helping them learn how to manage their morning time appropriately!
Setting the track for better mornings will be worth the extra effort! Calm mornings, with predictable routines and healthy balanced breakfasts set the stage for children to be successful in school. Rather than a harried and rushed wake-up, with shouting and tears, take time to work with your children to smooth the routines in your home so everyone can set out with their best foot forward!