Calm the chaos on busy school morn­ings

New Haven Register (Sunday) (New Haven, CT) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK -

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.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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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