These suggestions can create lifelong habits that will help your child be successful. Alter the suggestions to fit your family, but the most important point is that you are setting habits and attitudes for a lifetime! The lack of a predictable routine creates a cycle of frustration and sets a child up for a lifetime of bad habits.
1. Use encouraging language. Your attitude can affect your child for the rest of the day and for a lifetime. A happy and supportive coach during daily routines sets a wonderful example for your children. Protect children from negative language, protect their self-worth and teach them to be positive motivators and influences.
2. Keep a predictable schedule and routine for bedtime and getting up in the morning. The Snooze button is your enemy! If you are rushed to make it on time, adjust bedtime and wake-up time to 10 minutes earlier. You should be up and ready before your children so that you can be the coach as your team makes it to the car. If your kids do not wake up easily, then adjust their bedtime 15 minutes earlier until getting up is fairly easy. Before your child is even out of bed or while they are doing something else, put toothpaste on his tooth brush. Building good time habits teaches your child to be dependable and reliable.
3. Lay out clothes the night before, including socks and shoes. For a kid that is especially picky, evening is the time to negotiate the week’s choices…not while you are trying to get out the door the next morning.
Teach your child how to be organized.
4. Prepare lunch items on Sunday. Have your children help you pack goldfish, pretzels, veggies, fruits, cheese, etc. in Ziploc bags and place them in a specified place in the fridge and cabinet. Write breakfast and lunch items that are low on your grocery list. Your children will learn to plan ahead.
5. Pack lunches in the evening. Your child can help pack their lunch and learn responsibility.
6. Have a location near the door for items such as keys, purse, briefcase, coats, and backpacks. Before the kids go to bed, they should ensure that their school folders/books are in the backpack near the door, and their coat is near the door. Do not spend time trying to collect or remember things.
Teach your child to be prepared.
7. Breakfast on school days should be easy. Breakfast items that require little preparation, mess, or cleanup could include granola bars, gogurt, fruit, microwaveable breakfast sandwiches, and cereal. Some of these items can be handed out in the car if necessary. Work up to setting aside one or more mornings per week when you get up early to prepare that egg, sausage, biscuit, and fruit breakfast. Teach your child to be efficient and healthy.
8. Keep appropriate expectations. Remember not to expect things from your child outside of her capabilities. For example: some preschoolers need help getting dressed. This will help your child not be overwhelmed before the day has even started. As you watch out for their best interest,
your child will learn that they can trust you.
9. Increase expectations as children get older. As children master morning routines, delegate more to them including helping with siblings, putting icepacks in lunches, etc. Help your child live up to their potential.
10. Make it a contest. Have your older kids team up with your younger kids to help them. Allow for a special treat if everyone helps one another make it in the car by a certain time. No matter how many people are trying to get out the door, each child can learn to be a team player.