It’s a regular complaint from parents of children of all ages: “We just can’t get out the door on time!” No matter how hard you try, something unexpected comes up and your whole morning goes sideways. Rest assured, you can take back mornings and get your child (and yourself) out the door on time. Here are some tips to help you get on track.
Create a Routine
There are some things you must do every morning. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and putting on shoes are going to happen, one way or another. A visual chart is a helpful tool for children who tend to slam on the brakes when you’re trying to go. Print out or draw simple pictures of the 5 or 6 most important parts of the morning routine. Then your child is reminded of what comes next, and he may also begin taking responsibility for the plan. It can be easy to forget that small children spend most of their time following the directions of others. Allowing your child full access to the plan gives them a chance to complete tasks without being told, which is a wonderful feeling for little ones.
Whether it’s 5 minutes on the swing set or reading a book on the front porch, try to insert a small incentive into your morning routine. Knowing that getting ready on time means a special moment with you will encourage your child to cooperate. Be sure the reward is both something you can really offer and something that sets your child up for success (so probably not screen time or sugar, since those can affect her behavior later on). Also, try not to blame your child if there isn’t time for the incentive. Just say something like, “I know! I’m disappointed, too. We’ll do better next time!”
Set a Good Example
As hard as it can be, it’s vital for you to show your child how to be ready to leave on time. That said, we are all human and unexpected things happen all the time. In order to prepare yourself for the day ahead, try to build time into your morning for some quiet reflection. Whether this means drinking your coffee on the porch before your children wake up or taking 10 minutes to check your calendar for the day, a moment to yourself can make a big difference. Once you are calm and collected, jump into the morning routine and try to stay fully present. It’s easy to keep checking your phone notifications or to turn on the morning news, but the more engaged you are with the task at hand, the more your child will be as well.
Prepare What You Can in Advance
If you need to pack lunches, switch laundry, or put gas in the car, try to do those things the day before to save you precious morning time. There are many small things you can do to take the chaos out of the morning hours. Some other ways to prep for the next morning include putting backpacks and other bags in the car and making breakfast ahead of time.
Have More Than One Deadline
If it takes you 15 minutes to drive to your child’s school, it’s important to add time for getting out the door. Make deadlines in your mind for different parts of leaving. For example, if you need to be pulling out of your driveway at 7:45, work backward from there. Plan to walk out your front door at 7:40, and collect bags and put on shoes at 7:30. This takes the guesswork out of the leaving process and prevents a last-minute rush when your deadline sneaks up on you.
Getting out the door in the morning seems to be an almost universal challenge. By implementing these simple tips, you will find that your mornings are calmer and less stressful. Additionally, you take back mornings and gain opportunities to connect with your child in what is an otherwise hectic and difficult time. Are you looking for a childcare facility that helps your child take responsibility for his or her own routine? At Legacy Academy, we help our students develop life skills that will improve their lives long-term. Contact us today to learn more.