Okay, so [hopefully] the kiddos have had a good night’s rest. Now you’re ready to tackle the day! So let’s talk about the next piece of the puzzle in helping our kids have their best school year yet!
As parents (unless you’re homeschooling), we have a small window of time each morning to help set the course for a successful school day before our precious ones are out the door. How do you make the most of these few minutes? Here’s how we do it ’round here…
It is awesome to have a relaxed pace to the morning. Thankfully our eldest gets up about thirty minutes before he needs to start eating/getting dressed/etc. (6:30). So he has a relaxing and non-stressful period of time to wake up. This is really helpful if your child is not a “morning person.” Our five- and almost-two-year-old wake up ready to go, up for anything, talkative and hungry, but our eldest benefits from a few minutes to ease into the day. [An early bedtime affords us that luxury.]
We are not health nuts–far from it–but I try to keep in mind that breakfast is the fuel to run their little bodies and minds until lunchtime. At 7:00, I ask Big Bro what he’d like for breakfast, offering him a couple of healthy suggestions (Li’l has generally already started eating pretty much as soon as he gets up). Peanut butter & honey on toast is always a hit. He also likes honeynut cheerios, oatmeal with honey, strawberries, and breakfast casserole (I have a fantastic five-minute recipe I’ll share here sometime!). We try to avoid candy cereals or other junk food in the morning. I want the kids to feel their best (insert flashback to my fourth grade play song–“Garbage In: Garbage Out”–here); A sugar crash twenty minutes into the school day is just not in their best interests.
Getting dressed is generally no-drama for our boys (I understand girls can be a little more of a challenge, but a little prep can smooth the way). For Li’l Bro, I usually just choose his clothes for the day. Big Bro has more ownership in the day’s choice. Whether you are choosing, giving your child two or three options, or leaving it entirely up to him, it is helpful to have an outfit already selected the night before. Each week of Big Bro’s kindergarten year, I filled a hanging shelf in his closet with five complete outfits (shirt, undershirt, socks, shorts/pants), one set in each cubby, so he could choose himself. He got a taste of responsibility, and I didn’t have to worry about him putting together crazy outfits. Another great way to do the same thing with much less room is to put five outfits in large clear zipper bags each week–your child can choose a complete outfit bag out of the drawer, and the bags can be reused each week.
While the kids are eating & getting dressed, I pack their lunches. Either the kids or I grab their lunches off the counter and their backpacks hanging in the shoe closet and put them both by the garage door, ready to go. Big makes sure his folder, library book, etc. are in his backpack. After the kids are finished with breakfast and have gotten dressed, they brush their teeth, and I fix their hair to tame any crazy cowlicks.
Transition time is BIG. If you plan on walking out the door in five minutes, give your kids a five-minute warning and have them put on shoes (and coats, etc., if needed). Even if your [younger] kids don’t have a sense of time, they will still benefit from the pattern of getting the heads-up followed by walking out the door. Then, they are ready to go! My husband takes Big Bro to school and always prays over his day in the car on the way. [I still have time at home with Li’l before I take him to preschool.]
If you follow these steps, or adapt them to work for your family, you will help launch your kids into a successful day rather than deliver them from a stressful and harried start to the day.
And I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for part 3 in this series of how to help your kids have their best school year yet!
So how do you help get your kids’ day off on the right foot? Do tell! Wheeeeeeeee!
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