Between after-school hockey practice and dance classes, parents have enough activities to juggle before adding grocery shopping to the list.
(NC) Parents know that busy mornings can be trying, no matter how old the kids are. But setting yourself up for a relatively stress-free start to the day is easier than you think. Registered early childhood educators offer some advice for success.
- Plan more time for the routine. Give yourself extra time to get ready, eat a healthy meal, and give your kids the chance to read or play before rushing out the door. The first things you do will set the tone for the rest of the day. That said, don't be too hard on yourself — go with the flow and acknowledge that some mornings you may run late.
- Aim for what you can accomplish. Families need to be realistic in their expectations. Setting kids up to succeed at a task, like putting their coat on instead of trying to tie their shoes for the first time, will help kids feel empowered and proud. This paves the way for kids to want to do more on their own independently.
- Offer choices. Another way to encourage independence is to provide your kids with choices, which helps them understand that their opinions matter. Options can also stave off power struggles, too.
- Check-in with yourself. It's important for parents to monitor their own stress levels and self-regulate. If you're frustrated or angry, your kids will be too. Let some things go and pick your battles. Acknowledge that kids have stress too and they need you to be calm, loving and supportive at a busy and demanding time of day. Remember to breathe!
- Work together. Always encourage older kids to help the younger ones, but don't forget that younger kids can be a great support as well. Respect the needs of each child in the moment. For example, some days your youngest may want to do it all on their own, while other days they'll ask for help. Both scenarios are okay — learning to understand and ask for what they need are valuable life skills.