2013-03-28 / Columns

Everyday Extension

Morning routines help to create less chaos
By Acacia Stuckle Extension Agent, Emmons and Kidder Counties acacia.stuckle@ndsu.edu • 701-254-4811

“Mom, I want to stay home today! But I want to eat breakfast here. I don’t want to wear this shirt!” These are common words spoken from my son during our weekday mornings.

Mornings can be stressful on occasion in our household. My four-year-old son isn’t always cheerful in the morning. My daughter might wake up earlier or later than normal throwing a curveball into our routine. Whatever the scenario may be the morning dynamics can create the start of a hectic morning.

According to eXtension.org, some simple morning routines may help you start the morning with a smile.

The more you and your child can do the night before, the less you have to do in the morning. Some things to do ahead of time include:

• Make lunches. While cooking dinner or cleaning up the kitchen, pack lunch boxes with water bottles, fruit, and other no-spoil food.

• Pack backpacks. Look over any forms that were sent home. Have your child pack his backpack and place it in a designated spot (a “launching pad”) by the door. If he participates in any special activities (for example, wrestling, 4-H, etc.) this is a perfect time to pack items for those activities too.

• Set out school clothes. Have your child pick out her clothes for the next day—all the way from hair bows to shoes. She can set them out on a table or the floor just as she will wear them in the morning.

• Create a morning routine with enough time in it to allow your child to complete his tasks at his own pace. Your preschooler is learning to do things on his own, so he will likely be a bit slower than if you are doing everything for him. Give yourself more time as well by getting up early enough to have some time alone in the morning for a cup of coffee and a shower. If you start your day on the right foot, your child is more likely to do so too.

Preschoolers can only remember small bits of information at a time. So it may be hard for your child to remember the whole list of tasks she has to do before going to school. A morning routine chart created with pictures or drawings can help her know what task to complete next.

Preschoolers are easily distracted. Keep favorite toys and books put away in the morning. Television can also draw children away from what they need to do to get ready. Keep it turned off on mornings when getting out on time is important.

A hassle free morning begins with a great night’s sleep. Use an age-appropriate bedtime for your child. Create a bedtime routine that helps him get to bed on time. It’s just as important to be sure to give yourself enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, the morning routine will be more difficult for everyone.

Routines come with benefits.

They make it easier to take care of important daily tasks, like getting to school and work on time. Children whose families follow a daily routine may be healthier, better behaved and even perform better in school. With all that said, it is important to allow children some routine-free days on the weekends or holidays.Adults and children alike sometimes need a morning to just lounge around and enjoy time together.

Please contact me with any questions at 254-4811 or email acacia.stuckle@ndsu.edu.

(Source: eXtension.org)

Return to top