I am finding that getting old is, generally, a miserable process. I have, however, found one advantage of getting old. The findings from this unscientific sample size of one (me) may not be generalisable to all human beings, but I have found that as I have aged, I have required less and less sleep. This means that I generally wake up at about 5:00 am and am ready to leap out of bed and be active. I haven’t heard my alarm clock ring for a few years now, and it’s wonderful. I get some of my best thinking and sorting out done in the early hours and sometimes I have been so productive by 7 o’clock that I amaze even myself.
However, I am well aware that mornings in family households often involve the challenge of children and teenagers needing to be coaxed from bed and persuaded to get up, attend reluctantly to matters of personal hygiene and leave the house to go to school. And this is where the conflict can arise. As a teacher, I am a great believer in routines and I thought I might carry out a little internet research to reveal whatever secrets I could find to assist in the challenge of the morning routine for parents.
I learnt many things from what I read, some of which I smiled at because they brought back memories from years long gone. I have included below some online articles I read and liked – some are clearly more suitable for very small children and some for teenagers. I think the aspects of my morning routine that have made my mornings with children bearable are having made lunch boxes the night before, buying cheap, loud alarm clocks for each bedroom and not allowing the use of any devices at all before leaving the house. For my own sanity, I make sure I make the most of having some time to myself before everybody else is awake and the morning really starts.
Only you can judge what would be appropriate for your own offspring and your family circumstances. I hope that some of the strategies suggested in the articles listed below are of use to you.
Morning routines for school: tips
How to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works
In this article, there is a suggestion of having a coloured picture chart of instructions for very small children.
I enjoyed some of the ideas for little kids in this article but felt that competing to get ready using a buzzer might be just a bit too jolly even for me in the morning.
The on-time back to school morning routine
For older kids, this article had some nice ideas (and I liked the fact that it talked about helping them reach their ‘academic potential’!).
How to set a morning routine as a working parent
Some good ideas in here – whether you’re a working parent or not.
Pinterest is also interesting for ‘free printable’ lists, but some are a bit over the top and I did feel that expecting kids to empty the dishwasher, feed the pets, tidy their bedroom and fold the laundry before they’d probably even woken up properly could be considered slightly excessive.
Dr Julie Harris
Director of Teaching and Learning