It can’t be said enough – kids thrive off of routine! From tackling chores to doing homework to getting ready for bed, nailing down a routine that works for them can contribute to a much happier household (that means you too, mom and dad!). And when it’s time to go back to school, a tried and true morning routine can make all the difference to save everyone’s sanity.
Not quite sure how to get your ducks in a row? Here are a few ways to craft a healthy morning routine that will prove productive for both you and the kiddos.
Prepare the night before
You guessed it – the best morning routine begins the night before! Anything you can tick off the list like packing or getting organized will help you be successful and (most importantly) stress-free come morning. This might mean:
- Packing lunches and backpacks
- Prepping breakfast ingredients
- Choosing and laying out clothes for the next day
- Putting aside things that need to go out the door with the kids, like backpacks, coats, and shoes
- Going over the next day’s schedule
Set sleep goals
Getting enough nighttime sleep has numerous mental and physical health benefits. Especially for growing little ones, sleep is imperative for their growth, immune system, and ability to learn (to name just a few). While most adults can function with 7 – 9 hours each day, children tend to need more in order to support their growing minds and bodies. Younger kids will need the most sleep, while older teens will need a bit less.
To ensure your child gets enough, establish regular sleeping hours that they can stick with (yes, on weekends too!). Over time, a consistent sleep schedule will regulate their circadian rhythm, making it even easier for them to wind down and wake up each day. You’ll also want to make sure their room is an optimal sleeping environment that’s cool, quiet, and dark come bedtime.
Have a bedtime routine
One surefire way to get them in bed on time? A consistent bedtime routine. Go through the same steps each night leading up to bedtime, like brushing teeth, changing into pajamas, reading a story or singing lullabies. This practice will help them wind down for sleep more easily. A bedtime routine doesn’t have to take long or be too complicated, but it should be predictable.
Use checklists to get the kids involved
If you’re having trouble getting the kids to stick to the plan, it can be helpful to create “to-do” lists that they can check off. Examples of morning tasks might be:
- Make the bed
- Brush their hair
- Brush their teeth
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- Grab lunch and backpack
- Put shoes on
You can even start the night before with a bedtime checklist. If they need a little extra motivation, create a list that ends with the most exciting task, like eating breakfast or reading a favorite story. And if your kiddo has done an especially good job sticking with the schedule, you can even offer a reward at the end of the week for a job well done.
Eat a healthy breakfast
In the chaos of a busy school morning, it might be unrealistic for the whole family to sit at the table and eat together. But making sure that everyone (both kids and parents) eats a decent breakfast is absolutely worth the effort. Eating a well-rounded meal in the morning will give your body the fuel it needs to begin the day. And for your kids, eating breakfast before school can help improve their concentration and energy levels. Put one together with the right ingredients, and you’ll all be off to an even better start.
The best breakfast should include one serving each of fiber-rich carbs, protein, and healthy fat. It’s easy to put this into practice if you choose one food from each group. Some good breakfast ideas include:
- Yogurt with berries and chia seeds
- Eggs with avocado on wheat toast
- Oatmeal with peanut butter, chopped nuts, and fresh fruit
Give yourself some “me time”
A nice perk of getting the kids on a regular sleep schedule? The ability to pencil in time for yourself! Each morning, wake up 30 minutes to an hour before the kids to prioritize getting yourself ready and doing whatever helps you feel prepared for the day. For different people this can mean different things, but some examples include exercising, practicing affirmations, or sipping coffee while reading the paper. The only rule to follow here is to put yourself first!