Sometimes it really is the little things that make the difference. These 3 habits will give your children a headstart toward having a better day and prepare them to be resilient if things go wrong.
As a part of your morning routine, develop a system that works for your family to check that your kids have everything that they need for the day. This could include everything from uniform/s, swimming or athletic gear, musical instruments, books, pencils etc. You could find starting the night before relieves morning stress but not everyone wants to do that … find what suits you.
We have tried lists, sticky notes, a whiteboard and almost every other idea … even emails as they get older.
As they get older they may have various things to remember and they need to learn a system to remind them. We have used watch alarms to remind them of music lessons, writing in diaries or putting notes in lunchboxes. You will come up with your own systems but the stress of forgetting these things on both your child and on you are not worth ignoring.
I know some of you will think that kids need to learn themselves which is obviously true but its a scale and support until they can manage themselves is a big help. Its important to teach them the skills eventually of course.
Having worked in schools (and many workplaces) one of the key traits of the successful students is organisation and much of school is actually about teaching us these skills. When students are without something they need they can miss out on crucial work, feel really stressed and distracted or worse … panic and meltdown.
Five minutes checking the bag is correctly packed for the day can save a lot of stress and disappointment.
Professional sports people spend hours mentally rehearsing for their events and their performances. Its absolutely crucial for them to know their moves as a reflex but for all of us, running through things in our heads before any situation will improve our performance.
Especially helpful are imagining scenarios where things go wrong and then working through what action you might take. I like to run some situations past my children most mornings and they tell me what they would do. Things like “What would you do if I didn’t turn up after school?”, “How would you react if you don’t make the tennis team?”,”If your class is not on for some reason, how would you hand in your assignment?”.
I find time on the way to school or at home in the morning to imagine through situations with them when I can.
Obviously you can’t pre-empt every situation but it helps your child to practice problem solving on imagined situations and those are skills that they can take into real problems too. If they don’t make the tennis team then they aren’t as stressed because they have imagined that already.
Just like professionals, your children can make better decisions if they have worked through the problems beforehand.
3. Feed Them
Thinking and decision making requires energy and that comes from a good breakfast. Research has shown time after time the value of a nutritious breakfast on productivity at work and also in school. Unfortunately for one reason or another a large percentage of Aussie kids go to school without a good breakfast. Sometimes they are rushed … other times its not provided.
Children who eat a healthy breakfast go longer without feeling hungry. This means they can concentrate on playing, learning, remembering and solving problems better. Schools know the importance and often have breaky clubs to allow students a better chance of being fed for the day. Nutritionists have varying opinions but most agree that a healthy breakfast needs to have a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to keep energy levels steady all morning.
All of this takes 5-10 mins (apart from eating) so hopefully it isn’t a big hold up to start the day right.
Do you have some other tips tips to give your kids a headstart toward a great day at school?