No matter how quickly you get yourself ready each day, kids can still make or break a morning schedule in a busy home. And though research has shown that there may be a genetic component to whether your child grows up to be a morning person or a night owl, the unavoidable fact is that school schedules demand that kids be up and out the door early. And kids who are sleepy, distracted or hungry can make already stressful mornings even more so, not to mention that their drowsiness can adversely affect their performance in the classroom.
But mornings don’t have to be such a chore. We partnered with The Quaker Oats Company to pull together helpful tips for turning a.m. chaos into bliss -- or at least something resembling it! -- by encouraging morning-person habits in your kids. With some simple bedtime planning and a filling breakfast, you and your kids can create morning momentum that leads to momentous days.
1. Great Mornings Start With A Great Night's Sleep
Making sure kids get enough sleep tonight is key in predicting a successful, productive tomorrow morning. Establishing a consistent bedtime, banning screen time and active play for an hour before bed and promoting physical activity during the day are just a few ways to ensure kids clock in enough sleep time. And if bedtimes have mysteriously crept later and later in your household, make incremental changes over several nights to get them back on track with minimal fuss.
2. Banish Getting-Out-Of-Bed Battles
Many kids and teens struggle to get out of bed, but that doesn't mean that there needs to be a daily skirmish. Aside from making sure they're getting enough sleep, there are a number of ways to help ease your children awake. Allowing them to choose their alarm clock sound or music, or having you wake them personally, is a great first step. Letting morning light into a bedroom helps to wake a snoozing body naturally. Paying heed to whether your child prefers quiet or lively interaction in the morning helps put him or her on the right footing for the day ahead.
3. Make Mornings Decision-Free
Letting kids make choices about the day ahead, like what to wear and eat, makes them feel empowered and involved in the process. However, presenting too many options in the morning is likely to lead to indecision, delays and frustration for all those concerned. Allow time each night for your child to select their outfit, pick from breakfast or lunch options and so on, but keep morning routines simple and by-the-book (See tip number four!).
4. Make Routines ... Routine!
When creating a morning routine for your family, keep in mind that simplicity is key, especially for younger children. Instill early-riser habits in kids by paring down morning activities to events that must occur in the a.m. -- like eating, dressing and brushing their teeth -- and moving the rest of the day’s prep to the night before. Create a visual, easy-to-read sign featuring each child's morning routine. And above all else, be consistent; think of your routine as a constant rehearsal for a play called "The Perfect Morning." Check out these simple tips for simplifying your family's morning routine even further.
5. Know Your Timing
The easiest way to make mornings less stressful? Allow more time. We know that's easier said than done, but the fact is many families don't have a firm idea of how long their morning activities actually take, nor do they build in time for snuggles or a bit of dawdling. Spend several days timing your family's morning routine and build a (heavily padded) schedule from there. If you think your daughter takes five minutes to dress, but it actually takes her 10, allow 15 minutes in the morning schedule.
6. Reap The Rewards Of Breakfast
Make eating in the a.m. a priority, whether the kids are on the go or gathered around the breakfast table. Research shows that students who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who skip their morning meal, so it’s crucial to carve some time out of the start of each day for the little ones to fill up.
7. Give Yourself A Break
Glitches in your morning routine will happen, no matter how well-rehearsed you are. When the system seems to be descending into chaos around you, take a breath, maybe recite a quick mantra, and give yourself (and your kids) permission to be human. After all, you get another shot at that perfect morning tomorrow!
Unlock the power of a great morning by serving up a hot and tasty bowl of Quaker® Protein Instant Oatmeal. With 100 percent whole grain oats and 10 grams of protein per serving, Quaker® Protein Instant Oatmeal is the deliciously filling breakfast choice to help you start your day.