Kong Academy | Empowering Kids Through Play

Back 2 School: How to say goodbye to your morning stress

We’ve all been there – kids running late, lunches still not packed, meltdowns over missing shoes. Mornings can feel frantic and stressful on the first day back to school. But they don’t have to be! Thoughtfully designing a consistent morning routine can transform first-day chaos into smooth sailing for your family.

Why Have a Routine?

Setting up a morning routine has multiple benefits for your kids as they transition back to school. A predictable rhythm every morning gives them a sense of control and self-assurance to take on the day ahead. Routines also encourage vital time management skills. With regular practice getting ready each morning, kids learn to efficiently move through each step of the routine, avoiding last-minute panics. Studies show morning routines provide multiple benefits. They give kids a sense of security, boost time management skills, and lead to better academic achievement. Routines also teach responsibility and independence. Establishing set tasks, timelines, and procedures eases anxiety around the unknowns of a new school year.

How to Build an Effective Back-to-School Routine

Building an effective routine is done in 3 simple steps.

  1. Ask yourself this question: “What do they need to do?” Getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and preparing their school supplies are morning must-dos for most kids. But you may need to adjust these based on your child’s abilities and your family’s lifestyle. Determine what your child needs to accomplish each morning to be ready on time.
  2. Now answer this question: “What do they want to do?” Most kids don’t want to necessarily pack their bags or brush their teeth. Fun activities like watching YouTube, playing video games, or running around are more enticing. Use a “when-then” strategy by having kids complete their essential tasks first, then rewarding them with 20 minutes of a preferred activity. Adding incentives they’re excited about makes the routine more fun!
  3. Make it visual! Once you know what the routine items are and what they get if they do it, you now need to make a visual representation of the routine. Do this WITH your child! It’s a fun art project that is a great opportunity to educate your child on using the system! Pro tip: Use pictures. A picture is worth a 1000 words so kids don’t even need to know how to read yet to use it!

Now practice. Repetition is the skill that helps us improve anything. Having a routine is not enough, you need to practice it. Begin rehearsing 1-2 weeks before school starts. Involve kids in packing lunches and backpacks the night prior. Reinforce the routine each morning with encouragement and adjust any problem spots.

Sticking to a solid morning routine equips kids with skills to manage stress and time. They’ll thrive knowing they have the tools to take on each new day and build lifelong, healthy habits.

Help your child and yourself by starting the year off right by crafting a smooth back-to-school morning routine today!

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