As the start of the school year is approaching, many of you will be thinking about getting back into your school routine, whatever that may be for your family. Towards the end of the last school year there were many people struggling with the morning routine on school days in particular. I want to take this time now just before school restarts to help you think about what useful routines you need to get into place for your family.
Getting children in to a good morning routine helps to start the day off well. Morning time provides an abundance of opportunities to help children learn and develop.
Common learning opportunities in the morning include:
· Self-care skills
Teaching children to become more independent with their self-care skills is of course a very useful life skill to have, will help children feel competent and proud that they can ‘do it by myself’ and will buy you more time for you in the morning once achieved as well. Examples of self-care skills are; brushing hair, cleaning teeth, washing, getting dressed.
· Organisational skills
This is where you can use your self-directed speech to express your thought processes and teach children how to think ahead and learn those all important organisational skills. Examples of situations you can guide organisational skills are; getting dressed, preparing breakfast, preparing lunch, packing bags (P.E. kit, reading books etc) all of these require looking ahead at the plan of the day and getting things ready accordingly.
· Time keeping
For those children that are capable of telling the time and understanding the concept of time, it is a useful skill to teach to help them monitor and assess their own time keeping. To ensure they arrive at school on time requires careful planning such as what time to set the alarm to get up, when to leave the house and making sure they have enough time for tasks in between.
Some key tips to prevent problems are to:
· Prepare what you can in advance
Within reason and depending what you are focusing on that morning, it can be helpful to make things go more smoothly when you prepare some things in advance. If you are not working on organisational skills or time keeping and only on one self-care skill then do what you can so that you can put your time and attention on that area.
· Get up at a reasonable time
Most families I work with seem to be up very early in the morning and have lots of time to get things done before school, however if you are not one of those families consider making sure you allow yourself plenty of time so that you are not rushing in the morning, stressing out and missing valuable learning opportunities.
· Reduce distractions
Do yourself a huge favour to make morning times more successful and reduce or eliminate distractions as much as possible. For many children, for example, screen time is a big distraction, whether it is computer or T.V. this can cause problems in the morning, resistance and not a great start to the day.
· Useful tools may include:
Visual schedules and social stories around the sequence of events in the morning time.
Uplevel and Create Your Miracle Morning Routine
Here are some other things you might like to consider including for yourself and your child inspired by the Miracle Morning Routine by Hal Elrod. For a good day ahead he suggests you aim to include all of these things, at least a little bit (SAVERS)! As you ease into this you will find your rhythm and learn what works best for you. These are particularly useful for developing self-regulation strategies:
Silence – take some time to be still, quiet, meditate – this is proven to improve your functioning and clarity throughout the day. Encourage your child to do this too.
Affirmations – Go over some positive affirmations for your goals for the day this could be parenting related, school related, socially related… really whatever you choose. You can do this in a fun way with your child.
Visualisation – imagine yourself having achieved your goals (short term/ long term). Suggest to your child they imagine how one part of their day will be.
Exercise – This is a great start to the day, whether it’s a walk to school, a morning run or some yoga routine/ poses it will get your endorphins going and set you up for a good day.
Reading – In the midst of everything else you have to do in your morning routine, you might think there is absolutely no time to do the last two on this list but it doesn’t have to be a huge task. This reading part is to help you continue your learning or personal development in whatever area you choose. For your child perhaps reading a book together at breakfast time could work.
Scribing – Doing some writing; whether it’s a to do list, plan, journal or towards something else you are working on a little bit of writing each morning also gets you set for the day. Encourage your child to do the same for their level it might be a word of the day, journal or something they choose.
Overwhelmed? Dreading it?
No need to be! Choose one thing you want to work on each week, break it down into manageable chunks to achieve. When it is mastered find the next thing to improve and before you know it you will be surprised at how far your child has come.
If you would like help in finding opportunities throughout your day please email at email@example.com to arrange a time to discuss how I can help you.