Start the Morning Right!
January 2, 2019 by Don Gentle
Now that we are back in the groove from what was probably a multi-week break from school, it is a great time to create a little change in your kids morning routine. If you are like our family, not every school/work morning flows smoothly without effort.
Of course, at High Rocks, we help the boys with our own list that we have created in the cabin for our morning and evening routine. Imagine if you had to do your morning with six kids and only one bathroom! When I think of these moments, it really makes me appreciate our staff. Below are a few habits we work at in our family and at camp. I have grabbed most of this from some of my favorite sources out there and added a few we created as a family.
Have a “Night Before” Routine. The best way to start the morning right is to begin the night before with a few tasks that will have you ready. Create a list. We have so many great gadgets and apps that we can save lists on these days. If all else fails, use a pen (or maybe a pencil if it is the first draft). We do this at home and our girls work together to help each other remember. Remember, the lists will consist of a parent’s list (yours) and a kids list (theirs). We all have responsibilities in the morning. Think about the items that created stress in past mornings. If it can be done the night before it will make a huge difference.
- Laptop charging
- Agenda signed
- Backpack packed
- What to wear
Create a “Wake-Up” Environment. This is not one I have witnessed in other lists, but it is a big one, especially for teenagers. We use it at home and I highly recommend it. First, it is important to remember that our children sleep WAY deeper than we do as adults. Not all children sleep as deep as others, but many still have to work through a few stages of consciousness. How you choose can vary. It can be as simple as turning on room lights (or use technology with a smart plug and schedule it). Music might help. Music is way better than an alarm buzz. As a parent, I found that I used to “tiptoe” around until wake-up time. It is actually better to just make the normal rustling about noises. These noises should help the kids come out of the deep state of sleep so when you go for the big wake-up there is a little life in there to start.
The Morning “Must Do” list. Just like the night before. There are still items that must be done in the morning. You cannot do them the night before. If you did, they don’t count (like brushing your teeth).
- Wake up
- Make the bed
- Get dressed
- Load up lunch and laptop
Be A Positive Role Model. Our children learn more from us by observing than you think. Get up before your kids and be ready for the day. Put on a happy face and try to remain calm. It is pretty easy to add to the anxiety of an already tightly coupled system.
Stay Off the Electronics. Lead by example if you can. In our house, we may still have a background “flash briefing” of news and events from Alexa, but no TV, phones, or computer time. For me, it is one of the few times during the work week that I am with the children.
Create a Departure “Cushion.” This is probably a good habit for all of us. I was always amazed in my early parenting how long it takes to put on socks and shoes!!! The key here is that there is typically something that comes up, so start the “out the door” process with some cushion. It will not harm the children if they actually have to wait for you in the car.
There are a number of other great things to do in the morning. I thought I would give you a good jumping point to start. Check out some of the lists out there on the web. I was mostly inspired by Audrey Monke’s article “10 Solutions for Chaotic Mornings.” It was a great place to start my search process. There are a lot more great articles out there.