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Back-to-school morning routine cultivates happy parents as much as happy students

Published: Monday, Sept. 10 2012 1:18 p.m. MDT

The daily back-to-school routine brings about the chaos of the morning rush to get out the door.

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As the daily back-to-school routine brings about the chaos of the morning rush to get out the door this fall, mothers are offering advice to each other.

"In my household, there is a vast difference between school mornings that go smoothly and those that involve nagging, missed buses and tears. It's the difference between heaven and hell," Christine Carter, sociologist and author of "Raising Happiness," wrote at the Huffington Post.

Carter suggests making checklists for each person in the household. Finishing the dishes needed for lunches the night before and laying out tomorrow's clothes the night before can eliminate that extra time needed at the last second.

Getting enough sleep, Carter adds, can also make all the difference. "The hard truth is that it is nearly impossible to lead a happy life, or to have a happy childhood, when we're underslept. Don't kid yourself: 99 percent of adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night."

Carter goes to bed early to allow for time to "dawdle" in the morning without feeling rushed. Carter advises parents to set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day in order to establish a set routine.

Tag-teaming can also be helpful, Hillary Copsey wrote on BabyFit, a website for moms to connect and build community. "I shower while the husband gets breakfast for the toddler," Copsey wrote. "The husband holds the baby while I fix the toddler's dinner plate. He scrubs the dishes while I scrub the boys."

Script your ideal routine and clear space to be successful, Carter suggested. "Muster the self-discipline to resist doing things that will derail your routine in the morning, or your mood."

Another key component to an effective morning routine entails understanding that getting back to an early-morning routine is a difficult change for kids, W. Douglas Tynan wrote at Philly.com. "Be aware of that, encourage and praise them for getting ready on time in the future."

Without a routine, Tsh Oxenreider, mother and blogger at simplemom.net, does things haphazardly. "Things that aren't necessarily important get my best energy, leaving the dregs for the stuff that really matters."

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News. She has lived in London and is an English graduate from Brigham Young University. Contact her at rachel.lowry@gmail.com or visit www.rachellowry.blogspot.com.

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