When it comes to getting your kids ready for school in the morning, Murphy’s Law always seems to rear its head: Anything that can go wrong, typically will. Failed alarm clocks. No milk left in the fridge. Traffic. Meltdowns. Late or early school buses. And of course… “But I don’t want to wear that shirt!” If you can imagine it, it can (and likely will) happen to you as a parent. In fact, when it comes to establishing a morning routine for your kid, it’s best to expect the unexpected. Except, it doesn’t have to be. The need for structure is an innate part of human nature, and it’s no different whether you’re a kid or an adult. It’s more than just a question of adhering to a schedule. It’s a question of self discipline. And the sooner you establish daily morning routines for your kids, the better prepared they are for the demands growing up will place on them.

Make Sleep A Top Priority

That goes for you, too. While children are more attuned to their bodies natural sleep cycle, as adults we have a tendency to put a proper sleep regimen aside. We face an enormous amount of pressure, whether it’s from our jobs or simply facing the demands of being both parents and role models. As a result, we push sometimes basic necessities aside to maximize our time. This isn’t just unhealthy. It sets a bad example for our kids.

For optimal sleep, here’s a quick breakdown of what both you and your children need:

  • Infants (0-3 months): 14-17 hours daily
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours daily
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours daily
  • Preschool children (3-5): 10-13 hours daily
  • School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours daily
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours daily
  • Adults (18-65): 7 to 9 hours daily

Don’t Let Your Kids Be Your Alarm Clock

Let’s face it. Most of us would like nothing more than to sleep in for just 5 more minutes each morning. And it’s no different for your kids. They wake up when they want to wake up. Rarely will you find it timed to your own schedule.

But if your child needs to be up at 6:30 am? Make certain you’re up and ready for them by 6:20. That means waking up at least one half hour before they normally do (and you’ve likely already learned to be aware of their sleeping habits early on.) Make certain you’re awake, bright eyed and bushy-tailed—even if your internal clock is telling you to fall back to sleep. Remember that each day as a parent brings fresh challenges. Don’t get caught unprepared.

Prepare For Tomorrow Tonight

You’d be surprised how much time and fuss from your kids you can save in the morning when you prepare ahead of time! Your kids tastes will rarely change overnight. Instead of fighting over their outfits twenty minutes before they’re due at school, have them select them the night before. Is your kid a fussy eater?  Make certain lunch is prepared well in advance; several days in advance, if need be. Do your kids have a tendency to lose homework, pencils and other items for school regularly? Make certain their backpack is ready before they scoot out the door. An ounce of prevention is worth several tons of stress.

Create A Daily Routine Chart

It’s 6:30 in the morning. You have a busy day ahead of you. Traffic detours. A non-stop office workshop. Book reports due. And your best friend’s birthday. Do you think you’ll really remember every last detail even after a morning mug of coffee?

But a physically visible routine chart isn’t just for your benefit. Having your kids complete one teaches them how to take initiative as well as developing a structure for them to follow. Don’t just assume they’ve brushed their teeth. Have them check it off. Think of every last detail—from tying their shoes to packing their lunch. Over time, checking off lists will become automatic. And by then, you just might forget about morning stress altogether.

Keep Calm And Carry On

It’s the weekend. Time to relax. Sleep in. Veg out. Both the dishes and breakfast can wait.

Not quite.

Being a parent is a full time job, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What you need to remember is that your kids are still developing a morning routine. Stopping one simply because it’s the weekend sends a message that routines can be discarded. No, there’s nothing wrong with letting them sleep in an extra half hour on a Saturday. But don’t overdo it. While you may not need to rush like you typically would during the week, you should still maintain a daily routine on the weekends as well. Whether it’s baking, watching TV or gardening, even simple pastimes help teach your kids the value of maintaining a consistent schedule. 

But above all? Whether it’s a Saturday during their winter break or a rushed Tuesday morning, keep calm, no matter how much stress you’re under. Your kids are still impressionable. Let them follow your example and they’ll find that keeping a daily routine isn’t quite so daunting. And you just might find out, too.

Need more tips on how to ease your kids into a daily routine? At Handprints Academy, we don’t just teach; we help your children prosper thoughtfully and creatively. With fourteen different locations throughout greater Texas, our specialists are here for you and your family. For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at handprintschildcare.com or call (214) 484-1018