Thursday, January 19, 2017

Hurry up! Did you take your snack? Where is that form you needed me to sign? You are going to be late! Does it all sound familiar? Well, this year we made one change in our morning routine that practically eliminated morning stress from our lives, and I want to share it with you.
Streamlining a school morning routine

Our Normal Morning Routine

Our morning routine shifted throughout the years as Smarty got older with a gradual move of responsibilities from us to her. Last year, we introduced an alarm clock, so we don't wake her up in the morning. We are not a "morning shower" family, so all she needs to do is to get up, get dressed, have breakfast (that we always set up in the evening), brush teeth and hair, collect her things and get going. Basically, she does all these things on her own, except that she nnd her father always have breakfast together while I am usually enjoying my work-related morning calls at the time. But, until recently, this morning routine was punctuated by one of us telling (or yelling) to hurry up and stop reading a book. Eventually we would get Smarty out the door more or less on time, but the day did not start on a good note.

Planning for LESS Time

When we started thinking about what's not working in our morning routine, we realized that Smarty has too much time. Her wake up time was 6:45 am, and she needed to be ready by 8 am, which left her with enough time to get sidetracked and get lost in the book. So we talked to her and agreed to an experiment of letting her wake up (with an alarm) at 7:30 am, leaving her just 30 minutes to be ready for school.
The experiment worked out beautifully! Now Smarty simply does not have time to dilly-dally. Within 5 minutes of her alarm clock waking her up, she is fully dressed, washed her hands, and ready for breakfast. She has everything timed and even has time for a "morning cuddle" with one (or both) of us before she collects her rolling backpack (that she gets ready in the evening) and goes to school. Our mornings improved dramatically, and she also appears more rested - perhaps extra 45 minutes of sleep get her to a different phase of sleep when she has an easier time to wake up.


Obviously, this trick will not work the same way for kids who are waking up without an alarm early in the morning and have a few hours to kill before they really need to get ready. In this case, it might still make sense to clearly designate the signal that would shift a lazy morning routine into "time to get ready for school" time.  Also, Smarty is not great at managing a lot of time, but she is pretty good at staying on task when she knows that the time is limited. But I would still recommend trying out this "accelerated launch", even for kids prone to daydreaming as long as they are old enough (8 or older) to take full ownership of their morning routine.

Your Turn

How do your mornings look like?

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Ticia said...

Good idea for decreasing the time, I might just have to steal that.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

My kids wake up all on their own at 6am. We worked around this issue by making a rule that they can't play until they are completely ready for school. Sometimes they still get distracted, but it helps!