In the whirlwind of our daily lives, morning routines may seem like an insignificant detail; however, they may hold the key to a smooth and stress-reduced day. At The Phoenix Center (TPC), we understand the profound impact of morning routines for your child, and we’re here to shed light on why they matter.
The Foundation of Success
You might wonder, “Why invest so much in creating morning routines?” It’s about fostering positive habits, reducing stress, and “setting the stage” for a good day. Morning routines, especially for students with disabilities, offer a multitude of benefits, including:
Stress Reduction: A well-structured morning routine reduces chaos and promotes a sense of order, which helps your child start their day with ease.
Time Management: By streamlining their morning tasks, your child learns valuable time-management skills that will benefit them throughout life.
Organization: Routines encourage organization, ensuring your child has everything they need for the day ahead.
Family Time: Morning routines can create opportunities for quality family time – sharing a morning meal together, preparing lunch for the day, etc. – which fosters lifetime connections.
Children learn by example, and morning routines are no exception. As parents, it’s essential to model the habits and choices we expect from our children. Our lessons lose their impact if we’re not practicing what we preach.
The Night Before: Setting the Stage for Success
Oddly enough, successful morning routines begin the night before. The evening is the foundation upon which the morning routine is built. Addressing the following tasks the night before will streamline your morning, reduce stress, and help develop essential life skills.
Lunch Prep: Collaborate with your child to prepare lunches in advance. Refrigerate perishables overnight and have other items neatly packaged and labeled, ready to grab.
Organize Essentials: Pack up any items not needed overnight, such as sports equipment, homework, or items for errands.
Paperwork Preparation: Read, understand, and sign any necessary school or activity paperwork the night before to avoid last-minute rushes.
Logistics Check-in: Review the family calendar in terms of responsibilities and activities for the day, i.e.: child pick-up time, sports activity times and locations.
Clothing Selection: Choose outfits for the next day and prepare them. This eliminates morning stress over outfit choices.
Prioritize Sleep: Quality sleep is fundamental for the whole family’s well-being. Establish designated sleep times, cultivate pre-sleep habits, and minimize screen time before bedtime. Adequate rest contributes to clear thinking, emotional well-being, and overall health.
Facilitating a Positive Start
Parents set the tone for the home’s atmosphere. Make a habit of waking a bit earlier to enjoy personal time before the morning rush. Consider activities like savoring a quiet moment with a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise, reading, or engaging in calming exercises.
How your family wakes up can significantly impact their mood and mindset for the day. Promote a positive atmosphere with these tips:
Background Music: Play uplifting or positive music to boost everyone’s spirits. Let your child help create a playlist.
Morning Dance Party: Encourage dancing to lighten the mood and infuse energy into your mornings.
Morning Connection: Spend a few minutes cuddling, playing, or talking with your child as they wake up. These moments strengthen bonds and convey love.
For many children, a visual routine chart can be immensely helpful. Have them write their name and wake-up time at the top of the page, with boxes or images representing each activity to check off as they complete them. This especially applies to children with disabilities.Typical tasks include:
- Getting up at a specific time
- Making the bed
- Showering or bathing
- Eating breakfast
- Bedroom tidying
- Personal hygiene
- Gathering necessary items for the day
This visual aid/anticipatory schedule simplifies the morning routine and instills a sense of accomplishment. As your child matures, allow them to manage their routine independently once they’ve demonstrated consistency and responsibility. Granting them more autonomy shows respect for their growth and fosters responsible independence.
A well-crafted morning routine is a powerful tool for your family. It’s not just about organization; it’s about developing essential life skills, instilling discipline, nurturing family connections, and setting the stage for success. With time, your family will come to cherish these routines. At TPC, we believe in the power of routines to transform lives, and we’re here to support our families in developing these routines every step of the way.