Morning Routine Tips
By: Heather Descourouez, Assistant to Upper School Principals
Showers and breakfast and meltdowns-oh my! Weekday mornings…ugh. Trying to get everyone out of the door in the morning can be rough. I am NOT a morning person so trying to survive while not ruining everyone’s mood for the day can be even more difficult. Many years ago while I was in the thick of it with an elementary-age student and an early rising toddler, I was given some very good advice that I still say to myself, “be kind to your future self.” Sounds a little weird, right? It really is true though!
When I want to slack at night and not prep for the morning, I think of what my morning is going to look like if I have to do those tasks while being rushed for time. Getting everyone out of the door in the morning smoothly really comes down to being organized and doing things beforehand to make it a little less stressful. These things become habits for everyone in the house. Having things packed and prepped can leave margins of time in your morning routine to react to the slow-moving child (we all have one!) or the patience to handle a toddler meltdown.
Meal Plan & Prep: Prepping meals ahead of time and packing lunches the night before can be a game-changer. I also like to spend some time every weekend meal planning for the week and prepping what I can. Having quick healthy weekday breakfast options, prepping meals that can be dumped into the crockpot with no fuss, and portioning lunch favorites for quicker packing makes life so much easier. I like to cook on the weekend to have quick “heat and eat” breakfasts for the week. Egg bakes, muffins, scones, egg sandwiches are easy to have on hand. Also try cutting up fruits and veggies so that they are easy to grab and go for the week. Doing all of the chopping, cutting, and mixing ahead of time is so helpful to the morning routine.
Give Kids Responsibility: Having kids do their part not only helps to teach them the importance of creating the habit of planning ahead, but it also takes some of the responsibility off of you. From early on, kids can shower the night before, pack their own lunches, organize their school bag, and get their own breakfast. Especially if you have prepped easy-to-grab options for them!
I have found it helpful, while my kids were younger, to create a daily morning and evening checklist that I printed for them weekly. It was a way to help them remember what they needed to do and took out much of the nagging. Win-win!
Pack Bags Ahead: Part of a stressful morning often involves the parent or child looking for something that should have been packed the night before. Finding that permission slip that was due last week is much less frustrating on Wednesday night than it is on Thursday morning with the clock ticking. Having all the assignments, Chromebooks, backpacks, and work items packed and ready is stress saving for the morning.
Get Enough Sleep: This one can be a bit harder for busy parents juggling work, family, schedules, and other responsibilities. Throw in the fact that you (like myself) may be a night owl! It’s easy to stress the importance of your kiddos getting enough sleep, but it can be challenging to set those limits for yourself. Having that disci;line with make a noticeable difference in your morning routines. Hitting snooze fewer times and feeling more refreshed will help with your patience and clarity for getting through the morning and out the door on time.
Limit Distractions: Limiting distractions in the morning will help keep everyone on task. Keeping the television, phones, and IPad off really contributes to moving everyone along faster. Getting sucked into the rabbit hole of a favorite cartoon, YouTube video, or text conversation can stop the flow of a morning causing everyone to be late.
It’s almost spring break which means the end of the school year is right around the corner. Dealing with spring fever and kids anxious for summer can be a challenge to manage each morning as you try to get out of the house. Hopefully, these tips will help you survive the rest of the school year.
Heather Descourouez is the Assistant to the Upper School Principals. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years before working as a paralegal at a law firm and eventually coming to CLS four years ago. She’s been married to her darling hubby for 20 years and has two sons- Zach, a 2019 graduate of CLS, and Zander, a 7th grader.