Organization a key to morning before school success

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hectic schedules and hurried breakfasts don't have to be part of the morning routine, according to Renette Wardlow, human development specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

"Organization and good communication are a must in busy families with school-aged children," said Wardlow. "Getting organized is something everyone plans to do in the future but well-spent moments at the end of the day in preparation for the next day could be a valuable investment."

For example, selecting clothing for the next day, especially for younger children, is one way to invest time in the evening.

"Folding and stacking clothing as it comes from the laundry into compatible outfits can allow the children to take responsibility for dressing themselves," said Wardlow. "Then, the child, with help from the parent, can pick out clothing for the next day."

School books always seem to hide early in the morning so locating and stacking them together in the evening, along with backpacks, school lunch money, notes and other needs, can save valuable moments, not to mention tempers.

"The stage for the day can be set by how the child wakes up," said Wardlow. "Nagging, begging and pleading are not effective motivators and can even cause a cloud of gloom to gather over the household. Depending on the maturity of the child, an alarm clock coupled with responsibility for using it may be appropriate."

Wardlow also recommends ending the day with positive communication. For example, if families share an evening meal, this would be an excellent time to share events from the day. It is also a great chance for parents to really listen and gain insight about the world of their child.

"Organization and communication can help maintain family sanity," said Wardlow. "But even at the best of times there are questionable moments. That is just part of raising children."

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