Get Your Preschooler Into a Morning Routine With These 3 Tips

Bag lunch with a banana and an apple.

Preschool is your child’s first foray into the world of school routines, and you want to get them off to a good start. Establishing an efficient morning routine in the preschool years will set the expectation for all the years of school mornings to come. If your preschooler isn’t a morning person, getting off to a good start in the morning can be harder than it sounds. Take a look at some tips that will help you establish a school morning routine for your preschooler.

Start Early

Don’t wait until the night before the first day of school to start establishing school night bedtimes and school morning wake-up times. If you’ve previously taken a laissez-faire approach to bedtimes and mornings, or if your child is simply accustomed to getting up later then they will need to for preschool, you need to start implementing your preschool schedule before the first day.

Start preparing your kids at least a week before their first day of preschool. Figure out what time you’ll need to get up, and set an earlier bedtime accordingly to make sure that your child gets enough sleep.

As a bonus, this can help your child get over some of their jitters about the first day of preschool if they’re nervous. Do some dry runs of your morning routine in the week or so before school starts—let your child practice packing a backpack or eating lunch out of a lunchbox. By the time school starts, they’ll not only be in the habit of waking up earlier, they’ll have also moved past some of their nervousness and ready to start.

Do as Much as You Can the Night Before

Anything that you can get out of the way the night before, you should get out of the way the night before. Set out the clothes to wear the next day, pack the lunchbox and save it in the fridge, and put the backpack by the front door. Do this for yourself as well as your child—if you can run through your own morning routine quickly, you’ll have more time to help your child.

You can even make breakfast the night before. Muffins, chia pudding, yogurt parfaits, and overnight oats are just some of the recipes that can easily be prepared the night before and stored safely until morning, when they can be eaten without the fuss of cooking or dealing with a bunch of dishes. If you don’t have time the night before, don’t be afraid to simply serve cold cereal and milk. You can always save the hot breakfasts for weekends.

Use a When-Then Routine

Some parts of the morning routine are harder than others. Your child may not be enthusiastic about brushing their teeth or pulling on their socks, but they may enjoy eating breakfast or having a few minutes to play or watch TV before leaving the house.

Plan your mornings in a way that lets you get the least enjoyable parts of the routine out of the way first, so your child can enjoy the fun parts. This is called a when-then routine. For example, tell your child that “When your teeth are brushed, then you can eat breakfast,” or “When you’re fully dressed, then you can watch TV until it’s time to leave.”

This can give your preschooler the motivation they need to get through the morning tasks they dislike. They can’t watch their favorite morning cartoon until they’re dressed, so they’ll hurry to get dressed so they don’t miss it.

An efficient, no-fuss morning routine will help get your preschooler’s day off to a good start and make their day more enjoyable. In turn, they’ll get more out of their preschool experience and get their academic routine off to a good start.

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