As seen through the eyes of her mother, Serena Solorio shares why it’s important to plan ahead, schedule tasks, and set routines in the morning to get back into the swing of school weeks.
By Serena Solorio
The morning of the first day back to school isn’t always easy as you want to believe. You’re so used to the children’s winter break schedule that over those two weeks, you forget how to manage getting them to school on time. Not only that, the morning of school can always be stressful and anxiety-provoking. You don’t only have to get yourself ready for work, but also have to get your children ready, making sure they brushed their teeth the correct way, serving breakfast, and preparing lunches. If you have little ones, you’ll need to make sure the shoe is on the right foot and their winter coat is ready.
A working mom of three, Amy Ley-Sanchez, knows too well the importance of setting routines to limit stressful mornings. As division director of community-based services at Hillsides, a behavioral healthcare provider, Amy says, “Our internal clock – when to sleep, when to eat, and be active begins in utero. Infants and young children are dependent on their caregivers to help them regulate internally beginning with routines and predictability.”
Amy suggests the best environment for young children is one that is safe, predictable, and nurturing. “These are the building blocks for children to enter into school and eventually into adulthood.” Having a routine can help them learn self-control. Not only do they get healthy habits by brushing their teeth every morning, it can also help set their body clock faster.
To make life easier on yourself and for a successful morning, you can enlist the help of your children and prepare things the night before by implementing some of these time-saving and anxiety-reducing tips:
- Get snacks in lunch bag. Whether they eat lunch at school or you make lunch, have an envelope of money ready or the bag of snacks. You can also make the sandwich right before you go to bed and put it in the fridge with all the other foods.
- Wash, dry, and iron any necessary clothing. There’s no need to wake up early to put something to wash, dry or even iron. Plan the clothes for a week’s worth during the weekend so you don’t have to do laundry daily while other pressing activities call your attention.
- Sign slips. Sign slips for school the night and save time in trying to find a pen in the car because your child forgot to give it to you the day before or while you were home.
- Shower the night before. Showering the night before will save time and soothe you before bed. If you’re a person who wakes up feeling atrocious, then take a quick body shower in the morning that lasts no more than five minutes, as opposed to taking a 20-minute shower and having to dry your hair.
- Find purse and car keys. Put your purse and car keys by the door to save time wondering where you put them in the morning rush. Have a key holder or a little basket by the door to create the habit of putting them in the container and never losing your keys.
- Plan breakfast. Whether you give your kids money to have breakfast at school or you make them breakfast, set the bowls or plates and silverware the night before can save time also. If you make breakfast, have a breakfast plan to help with what to expect to make the next morning. If you are making a simple cereal or an omelet with fruits, being prepared with the ingredients you need the night before and knowing where everything is helps. Vanessa Barrios-DeGiacomo, who is a director of guidance and counseling at a community charter school based in Cambridge says, “Eating a well-balanced breakfast is important! Think of your body as a car. A car needs fuel to run, and your body needs food to give you the energy to make it through the day.” Making sure your kids eat breakfast every morning is important for how they perform at school.
- Sleep to recover. Getting the eight hours of sleep you need is really important. Not only is it important for you but imagine how important it’s for your child who is growing and developing. Vanessa also explains, “Regardless if you are a working professional or a student planning to take a test the next day, make sure to schedule in at least eight hours of sleep. You’ll do much better and retain more information during the day if your mental state is good.”
The children can help prepare the night before, too. Here are a few ideas to help them establish habits for a lifetime:
- Get clothes ready. The children can pick their outfit, starting from what shirt to wear and ending with socks. Doing this can teach children how to match clothes and dress themselves. And if they don’t match, it may not be an important battle to have with them.
- Lather and rinse. Have children shower the night to limit the use of the bathroom to only the morning essentials—bathroom break, washing your face, teeth, and hands.
- Set backpacks and shoes by door. Have backpacks and shoes ready to go by the door to save time doing a last-minute search for the other shoe or running to get your backpack from your room.
A planned morning the night before and setting routines, as Amy suggested for the household, will lift the stress off your shoulders. You’ll realize school mornings can be manageable, maybe even enjoyable, too.
Serena Solorio, a college student, has a curious soul, when she isn’t glued to her computer she is reading books, or working, ready to explore the world and learn from her mistakes, she is anticipating on growing up and being on her own, while eating cookies with milk right before bed.