Calm the chaos on busy school mornings

(METRO)–Mornings can test the patience and stamina of busy families as adults and children hurry to get out the door on time. Starting off the morning already stressed can lead to feeling tense throughout the rest of the day.

There is no magic formula to make mornings less hectic, but the following are some ways families can streamline their morning routines.

n Make use of the night before. Morning madness may come about due to lack of preparation the previous night. The more that can be done the night before, the less there will be to do on weekday mornings. Encourage children to lay out clothes for the next day and take a shower or bath that evening. Make lunches the night before a school day, and gather all supplies from homework stations, restocking backpacks and gym bags so everything is ready to go come the morning.

n Get to bed earlier. Sleep experts say that if you need to rely on an alarm clock to get up in the morning, you may not be getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says school-aged children should get between nine and 11 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers require between eight and 10 hours of sleep per night, while adults need between seven and nine hours. A good night’s rest can reduce morning crankiness and get everyone moving more efficiently

n Incentivize timeliness for kids. Children who are reluctant to head to school may need extra motivation to get out the door. Offer small rewards to kids when they get ready on their own or finish breakfast in a certain amount of time. Rewards can include a treat like choosing a favorite show to watch after school or a special outing on the weekend.

n Follow a schedule. Make mornings the same each day so everyone knows what to expect. Uniformity can streamline tasks and ensure everyone knows what’s expected of them.

n Stay organized. Racing around trying to find keys or jackets can be very stressful. Make it a point to return items to their proper places so that everyone knows where to look for the items they need. School mornings can be challenging, but with some ingenuity and forethought, the stress can be tamed.

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