Mornings are notoriously known for chaos, madness and a big contributor to stress for parents and children alike. With pressure on parents to get their children to school on time with everything they need for the day, it’s no wonder that recent studies have shown that 80% of parents experience high levels of stress in the mornings. Children are also affected by this with a quarter of students arriving at school feeling anxious and stressed. At Sprout Supplies, we have five strategies that you can start doing today to help significantly reduce morning stress and get your children to school on time and with everything they need to have a productive school day:
Preparation is Key
Are you someone who finds themselves running around the house trying to find shoes while making breakfast and stuffing field trip reply slips into their backpacks? Preparing the night before or even preparing for the week ahead on the weekends can make a massive change to your mood and stress levels in the morning. Invest in hanging shelves to prepare school uniform or clothes for the week. Get them involved by allowing them to choose their own clothes for the week over the weekend so there are no arguments or clothes related tantrums.
Create designated places for backpacks, school books and shoes using hooks or boxes. This can help your child prepare their backpack the night before and any other school supplies they need for the next day. Bye bye runaway shoes and missing school books.
Establish an effective Bedtime Routine
One of the major reasons why children aren’t effective in getting themselves ready in the morning is either because they haven’t had enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, primary aged school children need roughly around 9-11 hours sleep in order to be able to function efficiently throughout their school day. Get your child used to going to bed at a certain time and set up a bedtime routine. Stimulating them with games and TV late at night will just keep their brains awake. Instead, introduce bedtime baths, encourage bedtime reading and remove things that can keep them awake such as their cell phone and TV from their bedroom.
So many parents allow their children to watch TV first thing in the morning and then wonder why they won’t move away from the TV to get dressed. Make mornings a time where technology is turned off, toys are removed from the breakfast table and mobile phones stay in the school backpacks. This will keep your kids focused and mindful as they move through their morning routine in a time-conscious way.
Fighting with a defiant child can be exhausting and heartbreaking for any parent. Reduce the risk of this from happening by giving them choices in what they wear. So instead of shouting at your child, “Put on your shoes!” give them that choice “Are you wearing your red or blue shoes today?” - this gives them a sense of control and gets rid of those dreaded “NO” answers.
Another way of reducing defiance is by setting up a reward chart and consequences. Every time your child gets ready with no fuss and arrives at school on time, they receive a star or a point on their chart which can be cashed in for TV time, pocket money or a weekend treat.
Lastly, organizing yourself can help reduce the "out-the-door" panic in the morning and set a positive example for your children to follow. If you’re a working mom, mornings can become double the stress as you attempt to get yourself ready as well as the kids. Eliminate a few of those tasks by checking them off the night before: pack and organize lunches and other things you need in the morning the night before or on the weekends, fill up on gas the evening before so there are no quick dashes to a crowded gas station on the way to school, and have your own designated places for things that go missing easily such as keys, wallet, etc.
As a mom, it can be easy to think of everyone else but remember to give yourself care too. Whether you make time in your schedule for a short walk or exercise class, or a minute to catch up with friends or family over social media or text, little moments to yourself can help you stay calm through the day. Small extras can make a big difference as well - reward yourself every once in a while with a quick, pre-made smoothie, your favorite to sing to in the car, or around back-to-school time, ordering your prepackaged school supply kit from Sprout :)