A consistent morning routine is one way you can help your child adjust to preschool. Whether your child is excited or apprehensive about this new stage in life, being able to rely on the same set of events each morning will give them the confidence they need for a successful day. Here are some tips for starting a morning routine for preschool.
Start adjusting your routine as early as possible
If your family has been enjoying the relaxed summer months, the days before preschool begins and the first weeks after your child starts classes are a great time to begin acclimating your child to their new morning routine. For example, if your summer morning routine meant family members ate breakfast as they woke up, you may want to begin transitioning to everyone eating together in the mornings. If your preschooler has older siblings, they might enjoy joining them in their back-to-school transition.
Begin the night before
For many families, the morning is the most hectic time of the day. However, completing as many tasks as possible the night before will mean the next morning will run smoother. If you will be sending your preschooler’s lunch and snacks along with them, prepare as much as possible in advance. Laying out the next day’s clothing before bed is another good way to save time in the morning.
Ensure your child has enough sleep
Along with preparing lunches and outfits the night before, the proper amount of rest will help your child have a smoother start in the morning. Though every child is different, preschoolers typically get 10-13 hours of sleep per night. To help your child unwind and prepare for sleep, read our tips on how to establish a bedtime routine.
Write down morning tasks
Even the most successful morning routine can experience some snags early on. One way to help keep your mornings organized is to create a chart listing all the tasks necessary to help your preschooler start their day. Some examples of these tasks include:
Washing their face
Brushing their teeth
Combing their hair
Packing their backpack
Putting on their shoes
This chart can be a checklist on your phone, or a printout on your fridge. Even though your preschooler may not be able to read the chart, they can still feel a sense of ownership over helping you check off each item on the list.
Give yourself enough time
While an extra ten minutes of sleep can feel tempting to both you and your child, it can lead to delays later that could seriously impact your morning. Many parents benefit from waking up slightly earlier than their child to help themselves focus on the morning ahead, and to relax with a cup of coffee before their day starts. Giving yourself enough time will ensure that every member of your family can get their morning tasks done without pressure.
Make mornings fun
Your family’s morning routine may be dictated by the clock, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be enjoyable for your preschooler. Children love music, so choosing their favorite songs to listen to and sing along with can create a positive association in their minds with going to preschool. Music can also serve as an auditory cue for your children about their progress – for example, the end of a certain song can signal that it’s time to put their shoes on.
Life with a preschooler is never the same day-to-day, but developing a consistent morning routine is possible. According to Larissa K. Ferretti of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University, “children whose families follow a daily routine may be healthier, better behaved, and even perform better in school.” Finding the best morning routine for your family can take some experimentation, but it will give your preschooler a strong foundation for a successful day ahead.