HomeDisciplineHow to Start the School Day Without Wishing it was socially acceptable to drink before 7 am… most days.
March 7, 2018
How to Start the School Day Without Wishing it was socially acceptable to drink before 7 am… most days.
I’m not usually one for “How To’s“, but you might want to stand on a chair so that you can see me up here on my high horse. In all honesty, if you want peaceful mornings (on most days), then you have to take responsibility for them. We can teach our kids to prepare themselves through our words and example.
I’ve had days where I was tempted to pour something a little stronger than coffee in my cup, but here’s how we start the school day… most days:
1. Get Organized the Night Before. Just bite the bullet and take a few minutes to check for shoes, jackets, backpacks, restocked diaper bags, etc. before it gets too late. Call it part of your bedtime routine (or set an alarm). My kids fill their clothes hangers once a week (socks, pants, and a shirt), so they don’t have to think about what to wear first thing in the morning. Our hall closet has hooks to hang jackets and backpacks, as well as a box for their school shoes. My husband has the boys bring him their shoes, because those are the most oft misplaced items.
2. Wake up 5-10 minutes before your kids are due to wake up. This is yet another bullet to bite. Take a few minutes to collect yourself, and maybe even review your calendar for anything special in your child’s day (“Wear Blue Day”, take snacks for class, Picture Day, etc.). If I expect mornings to run smoothly, I can’t afford to wake up late & stressed. Or without time for coffee.
3. Be the embodiment of the first ray of Sunshine and the personification of Warmth when you wake your sleeping beauties. No, really: be HAPPY! Once your kids are out of bed and walking around, greet them like they’ve been away all night. Play a song that gets them moving. Or snuggle them while they’re still in bed (if they’re still plump and cute, and let you do that sort of thing). We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Cheerfully remind your child why they want to leave their pillow:
Waking my kids up with “Good morning! It’s Thursday, you’re almost to the weekend!” Or for my pre-teen, “Good morning! If you get up right now, you’ll have time for breakfast.” Or for my pre-schooler, “Yes, you have to wake up and go to school, or Mrs. Teacher is going to miss you so much!” Sometimes I have to dig deep, “Only 6 more weeks ’till Christmas Vacation!” or “The bathroom heater is on; if you get up quickly, you can beat your brother and sit closer to it!”
3.5. Counter all complaints with, “Just get up and dressed for now, and then we can talk about it.” Once we get dressed and moving, it’s easier to face the day. Every now and again, a child complains that he/she is too sick to go to school. The rule is to get up and dressed for school anyway. This gives me time to take care of everything I need to take care of, without stressing the schedule. Usually, the child forgets they were “sick”.
4. Set Alarms… Lots of them. In addition to setting an alarm 10 minutes before the alarm to get my kids up, I also have an alarm that rings 10 minutes before the school bus arrives. The 10 minute ’till Alarm is our drop dead time. This is when I announce: Socks, shoes, jackets, backpacks, and line up! If anyone has been sluggish or having troubles with buttons, then this is when I intervene.
Start the school day like it’s your job.
It’s hard to find joy when things are truly chaotic in the home. When you start yourself out with a healthy mindset, you can help your kids have a good day, too. Any good coach will tell you that you can’t expect greatness from your players if you don’t do some tough work yourself. It’s so much easier to get kids to cooperate when the morning conversation is about what might happen that day, instead of pointing fingers and yelling about who is going to be late. Not that I don’t point and yell, but not most days.
Also, don’t forget…
Have any tried and true strategies that help you start the school day? Share in the Comments section below!