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Creating a Morning Routine for the School Year

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Kimberly Hughes,MD

The new school year has arrived! The change of pace from the summer days can be difficult for parents and children. Now is a great time to create a routine that will make mornings calm and organized with just a few simple tips.

  • Create good habits. A good routine is not only what you will do — but in what order and when. If you stick to the same routine for long enough, it becomes a habit. Habits are key to less stress and feeling more prepared for the day.
  • Make it easy. Create a list or a set of pictures that show the steps in your family's routine. Have your kids help create this and put it somewhere everyone will be able to see it.
  • Prepare the evening before. Engage kids in this by offering more choices if they prepare ahead of time. For example, they can lay out their clothes, pack their backpack, set out breakfast and help pack their lunches the evening before.
  • Limit choices. For toddlers and preschoolers, limiting options to two choices is usually best. For example, they can wear the red shirt or the green shirt the next day. Too many choices can be stressful and lead to time-consuming power struggles.
  • Establish bedtime and waking hours. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day makes it easier to get out of bed.
  • Wake up first. If possible, set your alarm so you have time to get up and be ready before your children. Take the extra time to exercise, enjoy your coffee, shower or prepare things before others are up. Not feeling rushed yourself can set a positive tone for the day.

CentraCare wishes all the students, parents, teachers and staff a safe and healthy school year!