Some families make new year resolutions in January with everything they plan to change in the coming year. In our house, the problem isn't January, it's September and the chaos that comes with the new school year. This year, we are working on new school year resolutions with the new year looming.
Every family I know complains about the morning rush. When making resolutions for your family, focus on the consistent problems that plaque your family and ruin the harmony in the morning rush. Talk about this with your kids and get their input. Here are our resolutions:
We will stop losing our shoes:
I put a shoe rack by the front door to corral school shoes and prevent the recurring problem of lost shoes. The morning starts spiraling out of control when sneakers can't be found and its gym day.
We will have our clothing and supplies ready the night before school: This is a lofty goal and we always seem to fall short. Our kids wear uniforms, so choosing clothing is easy, but we do still have to navigate whether the girls are wearing the pants or jumper and who has gym and needs to wear the gym uniform. Getting organized, setting out clothes the night before and sticking to it is a big part of our plan.
We will get organized this year: Organization is a big part of the chaos in many homes, including ours. With the school year just a few short weeks away, we have been working on organizing the kids' rooms, cleaning out closets and talking about keeping the room neat. We have instituted a new rule that the rooms must be cleaned by Sunday each week to start off right and to earn allowance.
Organization becomes even more important as kids age and take over more responsibility for getting ready for school. By high school kids need to be able to handle most of the organization on their own. Give them space to work, such as their own desk in room. Help them to get organized to keep it organized. It's important to teach this important life skill before they are off to college and really do have to do it on their own.
You may have noticed organization is getting a lot of attention. This is a big problem for many families. We have talked about getting homework, supplies and other things together at night too. And we hope to stick to it this year. We usually do get the book bags packed at night, but this year we plan to get the lunches somewhat packed. At least we plan to put snacks in baggies, so they are ready to go in the boxes in the morning.
We will stick to the morning routine:
Some families use a chart for the kids for getting ready in the morning and keeping the routine flowing. This could be a space for every job the kids have in the morning: getting dressed, eating breakfast, washing the face, brushing teeth and hair, etc.
Time management in the morning is important and lack of it is a cause of the chaos. Getting kids moving is often difficult, particularly at the beginning of the school year. Set a time limit for get dressed and coming down for breakfast. In our house, they have until I get out of the shower and get dressed to be downstairs. You will have to remind them at intervals or set a timer. Put similar time limits on breakfast and for brushing teeth, if needed.
We have a bulletin board in the kitchen with notices from school, field trip information, papers that need to be filled out and anything else important that comes home from school, so no time is wasted looking for things. I keep a schedule to know what is being served for hot lunch and who has gym/library that day to remind us to return library books and wear the right clothes each morning.
Everyone will get enough sleep: Enforcing bedtime has not been happening in our house this summer. The kids need to get back into the routine. When our kids have enough rest, they are happier and noticeably more cooperative in the morning. And it all goes better when rested.
Start this before week or two before school starts. Move bedtime a bit earlier two weeks before and the week before go to bed at time of school, say 8 pm. Wake late sleepers a little earlier gradually will help reset the clock before the first day.
I will start my day off right:
If you feel stressed on school mornings, try getting up about 15-30 minutes earlier to wake up fully and have a few minutes before the rush. Sit with a cup of coffee, or do a ten or fifteen minute AM yoga routine, or jog around the block, whatever starts your day off balanced and peaceful. I've started AM yoga this summer and feel a difference in how I face the day and I resolve to continue when school starts.
Do NOT use your morning quiet time to get things ready for school. Get in the habit of getting things ready the night before. Pack lunch money, signed tests, signed permission slips, book orders, or what is needed at night and pack it up in the backpack and relax in the morning. One thing I've learned over the years is there is never enough time in the morning, so don't save it for the am.
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