Aug 09, 2018
The final days of summer vacation have come and gone here at my house and my girls are excited to be back at school. The idea of back-to-school and the return to a regular routine could have put a damper on those last lazy days, but thanks to some simple Montessori principles that I apply in my home, I can take comfort in knowing that our morning routine has steps in place to keep those school days as smooth as possible.
Many families that I work with share that getting ready for work and kids ready for school in the morning can be one of the most challenging parts of their day. So here are some of my favorite tips to a less stressful morning routine:
- Prepare the Night Before:
- Have your child lay out their clothing the night before. Have them select their clothing, underwear, socks, shoes and accessories and lay them out in a designated spot. When helping younger children make their choices, offer them no more than two outfits to pick from. Even if your child wears a school uniform, having those choices made and ready will embrace your child’s ability to get themselves ready for school independently. Want some more information on creating a child friendly closet space? Check out this post: link here to blog post titled “A Closet Tour”
- Prepare lunch boxes the night before school too. I like to talk to my girls about what kind of items they would like to eat at lunch time and I make sure to have those items available. Whether your child eats a hot lunch or sandwiches and salads, include them in as much of the preparation of the entrée and sides as possible. They can help to slice the fruit or vegetables, package them in their containers and pack the items into their lunch bag and place in a designated spot in the refrigerator for easy access in the morning. Our next post will be all about lunch preparation so stay tuned!
- Prepare the “command center.” Designate a place in your home for the placement of school bags, shoes, work bags and any other items needed for the following day. Take time in the evening after lunches have been prepared, to have your child pack their book bags, nap bags, work assignments and any special items they will need for the following day. Here is a previous post all about the entry way of my home where I keep my “command center.” “Setting the Tone for the Whole Home”
- Prepare the Bathroom:
Take time to look around the bathroom space that your child uses and ask yourself – what can my child do by themselves? Do they need your help to sit on the toilet or to wash their hands? Think about the access that your child has in this space to be independent. Some useful items in this space to help your child help themselves are:
- Step stool at the toilet and at the sink
- Child friendly soap dispensers
- Repositionable hooks for towels placed at child’s level
- Baskets or trays at child’s level to hold their grooming tools like combs and hairbrushes
This post contains some more information on using non-damaging hooks around the house. “A Little Can Change A Lot”
- Preparing the Kitchen:
Preparing and eating breakfast can move along smoothly when the children can be an active participant. Keep the child’s placemats, dishes and cups in a cupboard or drawer within their reach so they can set the table. Consider setting up a drink station where your child can prepare a drink of water by themselves. Having child sized items such as small pitchers of milk for cereals or spreading knives for cream cheeses, jams or nut butters can have your child work along with you to prepare their breakfast selections. Keep step stools nearby for your child to reach the sink and old cloths or sponges where your child can clean up any spills along the way.
Want more information on creating a drinking station of your own? Here’s a post all about it: “Who’s Thirsty?”
The Montessori approach has taught me so much. If I had to choose a principle impression of the approach that I use every day, it has been the importance of preparing an environment for my children that empowers them to be active members of the family. By creating opportunities for the girls to be in charge of as much of their own self-care as they are able, it has proven such a benefit to a more cooperative household. It’s not perfect! But implementing this mindset has allowed me to enjoy those moments in the morning for cuddling and connection so we can all walk out of the door ready to take on the day ahead.
What helps your family to have a better morning routine? Share with us! Leave your comments below.