While kids might drag their feet on their way to the first day of school, most parents can't wait to get back into a solid routine. The summer break can be bliss, but lack of structure starts to get tiring.
The school bell keeps us in line, but that doesn't necessarily mean our mornings are routinely happy. No, if we want to make it to school before the bell rings without tears and shouts, we need a morning routine that sets our family's day up for success.
No matter what your family looks like, a rotten morning can ruin everyone's day.
1. Don't Go Crazy
We admit -- it's easy to get caught up in the newness of the school year and end up going overboard on all our plans. Sure, getting an hour of yoga in before the kids wake up every morning would be great. So would cooking a nutritious breakfast from scratch. And 15 minutes of reading time to get your child's brain going wouldn't be bad either. But what's realistic?
Keep things simple. Remember you may have to monitor your kids' progress a bit as they get ready, so keep their routine simple: Get dressed, make bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, lunch in backpack, backpack on, and go.
You can add quick chores or other necessary activities at any time if you first start with a basic structure. Keep your own routine simple to begin with as well.
2. Stick With It
Consistency helps your kids know what to expect. The more you stick to your routine (First, we do this. Next, we do that. Finally, we do this.), the sooner your children will be able to take care of their routines on their own. Soon, you'll be able to step back and give them more independence.
3. Flexibility Is Crucial
Of course, as soon as you get a routine up and running, you'll encounter a big, fat setback somewhere along the way. Maybe your work hours will change, and you'll need to drop your kids off at daycare before school. Maybe it will be something small, like an early doctor's appointment one day. Whatever it is, try to just roll with it and adjust as necessary. Using the routines system from Brili makes setbacks and changes easier to manage -- and less disruptive to your children.
4. Schedule Time for Connection
Have you ever noticed that morning brings a whole new level of grump and crankiness to your children? Sometimes, kids really need time to connect with their parents. Unfortunately, the morning rush is the most difficult time to fit that connection time into a schedule.
Be creative, but try and fit in a few minutes of connection -- it can be five minutes of cuddling and talking while your child wakes up, brushing teeth all together in the same bathroom, getting dressed in Mom and Dad's room, eating breakfast as a family, etc. Only you know what your child needs and when, but make sure you take those needs into consideration.
5. Plan Ahead
It's like Newton's fourth law or something: The more you can do the night before, the better your morning routine will go.
Work morning prep into your night routine so you can handle the morning rush with fewer tasks and less stress. Make lunches, lay out clothes, set the table for breakfast, put homework into backpacks, etc. Your morning self will thank you.
6. Keep Morning Stuff Organized
Keep all the items you need for school in clear, easy-to-find places. A launchpad by the door with shoes, coats, hats, backpacks, lunchboxes, permission slips, and more will save you precious minutes of running through the house screaming, "WHERE IS IT????" (Trust us on this one.)
7. Offer a Reward
Give your child an incentive to get ready on time by offering to let her do a favorite activity if she's ready early. Watching a YouTube video, playing with toys, reading a book... dangle these motivators like a carrot, and watch her jump into action.
Brili keeps kids on task so you don't have to police and nag. Extra time for a little bit of fun each morning is surprisingly easy to come by when Brili is at play.