Taking the “Mad” out of Morning Madness

Getting up and out in the morning is difficult for many kids, but for those who are easily distracted the challenges are formidable. Smart Kids parents share their tips for starting the day off right:

  1. Prepare Ahead: Get organized the night before. Depending on your child’s age, you or she can lay out clothes, make lunch, gather homework and other papers, and place books, instruments, backpacks, gym clothes, etc. next to the door.
  2. Take Care of Business: I devote the first 15 minutes we’re together after school to reviewing all teacher communications, signing permission slips, and filling out forms. It avoids the last minute hassle—or worse, having my child be the one to sit in the library because I didn’t give permission to take health that day.
  3. Keep It Simple: The morning routine is always the same. Structure is very important: Get up, get dressed, make bed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and out the door.
  4. Separate Them: Our sons share a room and left to their own devices in the morning they’ll play around rather than get ready for school. We solved the problem by giving them each a schedule. When one is in the bedroom getting dressed and making his bed, the other is in the bathroom brushing teeth, combing hair, etc
  5. Eat and Run: On really crazy mornings we grab breakfast from the stash of nutrition bars and juice boxes I keep for just those occasions.
  6. Leadership Training: I got so tired of nagging everyone—“Finish your breakfast,” “Clear your plate,” “Put your shoes on,” etc., that we decided to outsource that job to the kids. Each week one of the three gets to be the “boss” of making sure the other two are staying on schedule. They actually listen better to each other, knowing that it will be their responsibility next week to get the job done.
  7. Don’t Fight It: Instead of rushing to get out, set the alarm 30 minutes earlier.
  8. Start with A Snooze: Because our son doesn’t like to jump into action right away, he sets his alarm to allow enough extra time so that he can hit the snooze button twice
  9. Music Mania: We start the day with high-energy music. Our daughter picks the playlist the night before, and the goal is to walk out the door at the same time the last song ends. It’s become a fun challenge to see how close we can come, and best of all, it keeps the morning process moving forward.
  10. Be First:  I get up earlier than the kids to have some time for myself because when I’m less stressed I find they are too.