Parents with young pupils know the morning rush of getting their children up, fed and off to school before the bell goes. As the term ticks by, routine gets more lax and getting out of bed becomes less and less appealing. To avoid the daily chaos, put some structure in place – sooner than later.
“An on-time and organised child experiences less anxiety and stress during the school day,” said Riverside College’s primary school principal, Lynne Arbuckle.
Parents can also avoid extra trips to school and rushed apologies to teachers if they work with their children to develop a morning routine.
“Each family has a unique morning routine. As your child’s workload and schedule expands, creating and sticking to a routine will aid their learning and independence,” said Ms Arbuckle.
Ms Arbuckle’s tips for streamlining the morning rush:
* Stay calm and carry on: Act preemptively; take a minute to talk to or cuddle your child as they wake up – this may prevent attention-seeking tactics that delay the process later. Similarly, try to remain calm – the more flustered and anxious you are, the more likely your child is to slow down. There will be days when your child is dreading going to school. Show sensitivity to this and you will find that things run more smoothly.
* Appoint a rotating director: If you have more than one child, rotate the position of morning director – this person is responsible for making sure everybody gets what needs doing done. Incentives can include picking the music for that morning’s drive. If your children are learning to tell the time, incorporate this into the routine, get them to note increments of 10 or 15 minutes.
* Lay it out like a crime scene: Set out clean clothes, bags and books the night before in a spot near the door. Involve your children in packing everything they need the night before, teaching them to be aware of what’s needed to fully take part in school activities. If your child is forgetful, charts and to-do lists can help them learn to keep track of their belongings and responsibilities.
* Be an enabler: Stock up on wholesome, easy-to-make breakfast foods and keep them in accessible places so that children can help themselves. They will practice independence and free up your time. Schoolgoing children can stack their dishes in the sink or dishwasher, so make each one responsible for their own mess. It can be the director’s duty to check that everybody is pulling their weight.