Morning routines can be a drag. This is especially true after a stoppage in school, such as summer, winter, or spring break. Tasks and steps that were easy at the end of last year might seem to have regressed back to square one. There are a few steps that parents can take to ease the reintegration of morning routines.
It starts with examining the process. Parents need to talk with their children to get an overview of the process and challenges that will exist in the morning. The focus of the conversation should be on the mindset needed to have a successful morning and the realistic obstacles that will exist. Once awareness is created, it is important to make a list of all the tasks that will need to be completed. Depending on the student’s’ age and ability, parents can use a variety of methods: to do lists, visual checklists, time specific tasks, etc. Some older students might not need anything written down but simply a refresher on all the responsibilities that take place in the morning.
Next, incorporate time into the equation. How long steps take, what time tasks should start/end, how to adjust if an additional step is needed some days (ex: packing a second meal for late night band practice on Wednesdays). This always works best if you work backwards. For instance, out the door at 7:30 means that you are packing your backpack by 7:27 and starting your 10 minute breakfast by 7:17. Students need benchmarks along the way for real time processing. That way, when they’re still eating breakfast by 7:28, they’ll know that they only have 2 minutes to pack their bag and that they better get going so they aren’t late.
It will always help to go back to the basics and complete a refresher with children when they are heading back to school after summer break. For many older students, this could be as simple as prompting the student to verbally tell you their morning routine. For younger students or those with higher needs, this process may require more collaboration between parent and child. The skills needed for planning and executing morning routines will go well beyond what was discussed in this post, but this is an easy refresher to help make re-entry a little smoother.