Tuesday, January 29, 2008

10 things to make Back to School mornings easier.

These are 10 things that I do that make my life easier in the morning when I want everyone organised. Doing these things helps at any time, but even more so when we are in "back to school" mode and adjusting to new routines.

(1). Set bedtime.
Having an age appropriate bed time for the kids, means they get the sleep they need to actually wake up of their on accord and are refreshed for school. They wake up happier and are easier to manage.

(2). Table set for breakfast.
We have the table set for breakfast, including the cereal boxes on the table before we go to bed at night. Dad is usually the first to have breakfast and will put the juice and milk on the table. As the children wake at different times, this enables them to easily serve themselves.

(3). Lunch box preparation.
I have the lunch boxes set out on the bench and will put in any items that are non perishable in the night before. For example, I will put crackers in resealable plastic bags in to the boxes, but fruit like watermelon that I cut up and salad sandwiches I will do in the morning.

(4). Clothes preparation.
I don't lay the clothes out for the children, but do ensure that they are in the right spots for the children to access them themselves.

(5). Key time markers.
We have key times across the morning at which certain activities need to occur. At (or before) 7.30am children need to brush their teeth, put on sunscreen and then get themselves dressed. We leave the house at 8.05am, so everyone has to be completely ready by then.
As only the eldest two can read the time, I will let the preschooler know what the time is and she can work out what she needs to do. I find that this prevents me from having to nag. They are all aware of what is required for us to leave the house on time, and the responsibility also sits with them to ensure we achieve this.

(6). Children take away their breakfast dishes from table.
Each child is responsible (except for the toddler just yet) for taking their dishes from the table tot he kitchen bench. The remaining items are then cleared dishwasher stacked by the older two children.
This is then one less thing that I have to do and therefore I am not as rushed. It also helps them understand that we all have to work together to keep the house tidy. This task and the next two require the children doing things for themselves. I find it is much easier for them to concentrate on these, if their are no distractions like TV or computer to deal with.

(7). Children make beds and tidy their room.
As per above. Also since we have been doing this, I have found that the room stays tidier in the first place, as they don't enjoy spending large amounts of time doing this task.

(8). Children pack their bags.
This goes for the oldest three. It is their responsibility to ensure they have their lunchbox, hat etc, all the things that they need for their day at school. I find this helpful in training them to keep their possessions organised. If they have left their hat at home because they left it in the bedroom, instead of putting it back in their bag, they will have to accept the consequences of this. (At our school, no hat means that they cannot play out in the sun during terms 1 and 4.)

(9). Walk to school.
This is not possible for everyone, but I find that this is less stressful than packing all the children in the car, finding a park, getting them out etc. It also provides a lovely opportunity to chat and play games as we walk along.

(10). Keep Calm.
This is probably the hardest one of these to do sometimes, but even when they are infuriating me, I find if I try to calmly deal with the situation, (as opposed to ranting and raving at them!) that it has much less chance of escalating or snowballing into more issues.

Any tips on what you do to make school mornings pleasant and a great start to your day?

1 comment:

Ok, Where Was I? said...

I definitely need to work on #10--it's my worst. I started homeschooling after xmas break, and not being rushed and snapping at them when we're/I'm rushed has been one of the biggest rewards. Thanks for stopping by my site!