As summer break comes to an end and a new school year begins, we can all sigh with relief that routine, structure and early bedtimes are just around the corner, but so are chaotic weekday mornings.
Last year, my toddler started Pre-K. In the beginning, during the “honeymoon” period, mornings were fine. Our only struggles were forgotten lunches and burnt breakfasts.
This post is brought to you by Knoxville Montessori School by Annie Brown.
Overall, my son and I got through our weekday mornings swimmingly…until we didn’t.
But after a few months, my house became a war zone each morning. Clothes were thrown around the bedroom and living room. Breakfasts were thrown around the dining room or just neglected. Tantrums were had at the front door, by the car, on the sidewalk, etc.
So, at the beginning of the spring semester, I reached out to his teacher to discuss our morning routine so that maybe it could get better.
Thanks to his teacher and her recommended parenting resources, I learned that mornings do not have to be terrible.
If you’re having difficult weekday mornings with your child, try these tricks:
1) Prepare the night before.
I have my son help pick out his outfits and prepare his lunch most evenings. I also prepare my own lunch and snacks, as well as lay out my own outfit so that I can sleep in a little later and/or have more free time before waking up my son.
2) Wake up at the same time every day and give yourself free time to shower or drink a cup of coffee before waking your child.
My free time helps me stay positive for the rest of the morning.
3) Leave the house at the same time every day, whether your child is ready or not and set an alarm for departure.
For my phone alarm, I choose songs that my son enjoys so that he leaves the house with a smile. Also, I give an extra 15 minutes to get in the car. Most distractions seem to occur between the front door and the car door.
4) Set aside a spare outfit.
I keep an empty bag next to the front door and toss in his clothes/shoes, if he refuses to change on time. I give my son the choice to either dress himself before the alarm goes off or to wear his PJs in the car and dress himself at school. He usually doesn’t like losing time with his friends at school when he must change his clothes there.
5) Serve breakfast in to-go containers with lids.
My son has a choice to eat at the table with me, in the car on the way to school, or when he arrives at school.
6) Show confidence and positivity and believe that every day is a good day.
No morning is perfect, but I have learned that fewer tantrums and tears occur when we keep a routine.
The main lesson that I learned is that all I had to do was change our routine in a way that gives him more control and responsibility. I also benefited from changing my attitude about what must be completed before leaving the house. Making departure time the main rule to follow while also giving my son choices helped make our mornings more peaceful and successful.
For more parenting tricks, visit Love and Logic. It is a great resource for free articles, tips and advice for parents.