Back-to-school time! Check out these seven simple tips for getting back to routine when school begins.
How to do you foster independent children and still ensure your morning routine for school goes smoothly? Give your kids tools for success. Show your children that school and organization are important by creating a School Prep Zone that facilitates a morning routine. This quote dances in my mind:
“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Maria Montessori
Yesterday we discussed how we set-up a School Prep Zone:
-- Sturdy hooks for coats, jackets, and backpacks.
-- Cubicles or baskets for library books, lunch boxes, homework, gym shoes and more.
Click here for our 20 Top Picks, a collection of adorable hooks and cubicles.
We all know that setting up the School Prep Zone is one thing, getting your child to use the area is another task!
I truly believe our job as parents is to raise independent and capable adults. This is a perfect opportunity to practice organization and responsibility.
7 Parent-to-Parent Tips For Getting Back to Routine
Let's get started!
1. Create before and afterschool routine habits.
Have your child immediately hang their coat & backpack in the prep zone when they come home each day. Use this as an opportunity to have your child show you projects and homework they've done at school.
2. Stop pestering your kids about their daily morning routine, instead use fun activities as a reminder.
Try to avoid harping on your child by asking, "Is your stuff for school ready yet?" too often. Instead, wait for them to bring up opportunities to discuss it. Practice saying things like:
- You're welcome to watch TV after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
- You're welcome to go to play with your friends after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
- You're welcome to join us for dinner after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
3. Consistent prep for the next day as part of your night routine for school.
Prep for the next day of school the afternoon or evening before, rather than the morning of. Consider setting an alarm on your phone. If the school stuff doesn't get taken care of by the kids, you will have a reminder to check in with them before bedtime.
4. Write an evening to-do list together to ensure your kids know what is expected as part of their daily morning routine.
Is your little one still missing items each day? Sit down and have *them* tell you what they need to have organized every night. Pop open MS Word and create a cheat sheet your child can use. Click here to see what our winter cheat sheet looks like (PDF). Simply create two columns on your Word doc, a few bullet points, copy & paste and voila!
5. Occasionally even the best morning routine fails, when it does — keep calm.
Ha. Those are words every parent likes to hear at 8:15 am. Remember, this is why you have your child prep their backpack the night before. My daughter has a tendency to whine, "I don't know how to [fill in the blank]." Try this phrase in return, "Show me what you would do first if you did know how to do it." This is also a great time to default back to the list you've written together. Tell your child, "Get as many of the items on the list done as possible and then come to get me if you still need help."
6. Verbalize the emotional benefits of having a daily morning routine.
Set a good example and talk to yourself about the benefits of being organized. This can feel awkward at first, but the technique works well. For example, if you take a weekly yoga class, pack your gear the night before and when you leave for class, say something on the lines of, "It feels nice to have all my gear set and not to be rushed." The other day I found myself saying, "Boy, I hate prepping taxes. They're not even due until April, but it will feel nice to know it is done and out of the way early." [blah]
7. Consider a reward when your kiddo ROCKS their morning routine for school.
If your child cuts their prep time and reduces their morning whining, consider a reward. It can be something as simple as a sticker or something as adventurous as a quick hot cocoa from the drive-through at Starbucks before school. Sometimes we get crazy and do pancakes and mini ice cream cones at McD's!
Bonus Tip: Design a "School Prep Zone" as part of your kids' morning routine.
One of the best ways to ensure your child utilizes the school prep zone is to get your child involved when designing the area:
- Starting from scratch? Click here for our 20 Top Picks, a collection of adorable hooks and cubicles. Have your child help you shop.
- Want to upcycle? Click here to see how we have our School Prep Zone set-up. Have your little one help find baskets and other useful items!
- Not sure how to give ownership of the project your child? Stop by tomorrow for additional tips!
What are mornings like at your house? What additional tips would you add to the list above? Let's chat on Facebook.
The best part of this approach is that it leaves more time in the morning for you to enjoy your kids. A calm morning allows you to savor the simple moments of childhood.
PS: You might also like...
More Great Back-To-School Info For Parents
- Make Healthy Lunches FUN: Printable Kids Lunchbox Jokes
- Just Between Us Journal: How to Get Your Tween To Talk With You More
- How to Ensure Your Tween ROCKS the First Day of Middle School
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”