This free back-to-school printable and these parenting tips will help ensure your family enjoys smooth mornings. This article is brought to you by Melissa & Doug and written by our Blog Ambassador Zina of Let’s Lasso the Moon.
Getting into a smooth morning routine in the fall (or honestly–any time of year) can be challenging. Transitions throughout the day are stressful and can, at times, bring out the worst in us and our kids.
However, if we give our little ones tools for success, we can use this daily chaos as an opportunity to foster independence.
As parents, I believe one of our primary jobs is to help our children become independent, capable adults. Prepping for school each day is a perfect opportunity to practice organization and responsibility.
Below are three back-to-school tips to help teach independence, but still ensure your school routine is smooth.
1. Prep the day before.
If you want to have calm mornings, practice the art of prepping ahead of time. Prepare for school the afternoon or evening before, rather than the morning of.
For example, during the week, have your child immediately hang their coat & backpack up the minute they walk in the door. You can also use this as an opportunity to have your child show you projects and homework they’ve done at school. Once you’ve talked about the day, get together tomorrow’s items straight away.
2. Use fun activities as a reminder vs nagging.
Sometimes schedules don’t allow kids to immediately prep for the next day upon getting home from school. If this is the case at your home, get creative with your wording when asking, “Is your stuff for school ready yet?”
Practice alternatives like:
- You’re welcome to play with your toys after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
- You’re welcome to watch TV after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
- You’re welcome to go to play with your friends after your school stuff is set for tomorrow.
3. Use a morning to-do list.
Once your kiddo grows beyond this diagram to-do list, consider writing a traditional morning to-do list together. Sit down and have *them* tell you what they need to have organized every night. Then brainstorm together and provide suggestions they may have overlooked.
You can hang this list on the fridge, write it on a dry eraser board or even create a printable document on your computer. Your child will feel empowered by helping create the list.
Bonus Tip: School Prep Zone
Another great tool for empowering your kids and fostering smooth mornings, is to have your kids help you create a school prep zone.
As children grow from kindergarten to early elementary school students, their daily responsibilities evolve. Their weekday morning routine begins to include: homework assignments, school library books, milk money and more. Help them keep organized by having a designated space for school items.
Empowerment Tool: Give your child complete ownership of their school prep zone by allowing them to “put their name on it.” You can find these adorable wooden door plaques online here at MelissaAndDoug.com. We decided to re-purpose them for our project. Our girls loved using these plaques to designate their cubicles.
What are mornings like at your house?
PS: Color-coordinated letter stickers and a hanging ribbon make it easy to personalize and display these adorable plaques. How cool are these?