If you are at home in the morning before the bus or carpool comes by, you know the frustration that comes with getting everyone out the door on time! Inevitably, just as you think everyone’s ready to go – someone can’t find a shoe, your daughter spills juice and needs a new shirt, or your son comes downstairs wearing shorts when it’s 28 degrees outside. Ever feel like you can manage projects and people efficiently at work, yet you can’t seem to get your six and eight-year-old children to eat all of their cereal in twenty minutes or less?
Here are some tips you can use to help everyone make it through the morning routine a little easier, and to keep everyone on time!
- Start the “clock” ten to fifteen minutes earlier. Adding just ten minutes can help give your family a “cushion” for those unexpected “crises” that delay your departure. Changing your child’s wake-up time by a few minutes shouldn’t impact them significantly (especially younger children who aren’t yet managing their own time).
- Watch the wake up. Whether you are your child’s alarm clock or they have their own, check on your child’s wake-up progress five to seven minutes after the set wake-up time. Many children are tired and groggy in the morning and might need that second “alarm” to get them out of bed. Go in their room and open the blinds to let some light in. If your children are younger, remind them that getting up and dressed on their own is part of becoming a “big boy” or “big girl.”
- Institute a reward and punishment system. If your children are a little older or in their teens and their sleeping-in is out of control, consider rewarding on time wake-ups and taking away privileges (no TV that night, no video games for a day) when they don’t get out of bed on time. Also, remember, your child might have consequences to face if he or she is late for school. Allowing your child to face these consequences by him or herself might be enough of a disincentive to keep it from happening again.
- Institute a “warning” system. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you are familiar with those handy reminders that “pop up” five to ten minutes before a meeting and help you get things done on time! Do the same for your children. Give your child a five minute warning when they are waking up, eating breakfast, or getting their school bags together so that they can become more sensitive to the passing time. Hopefully, this will encourage your “dawdlers” to speed it up.
- Start the night before. A good night time routine can make or break your morning routine. Talk to your children about what they need for school the next day (i.e. permission slips signed, gym clothing, etc…) the night before. Set out their clothes and make sure that their homework and books are packed up and ready to “grab and go” the next morning. Consider setting out boxes of cereal, bowls, spoons, and glasses so that the morning breakfast routine is more efficient as well. And, most important of all, make sure your child goes to bed on time! Staying up too late is only going to make that morning wake-up a slower and more “painful” process for all involved.