I hear parents complain that they have a hard time getting their kids out the door in the morning -- dragging them out of bed, tangled hair, "where's my socks?" and "I'm HUNGRY!" Well, in my house, my 6-year-old Kindergartner gets herself ready. In fact, sometimes she's ready before I'm out of bed! Often, she's the one nagging daddy, "are we going to be late for the bus???" (he is in charge of getting her to the bus stop).
Now, I'll admit my daughter is pretty responsible for a 6-year-old, but we did a lot of "prep" to have her be this independent in the morning. Here's my tips for helping your Kindergartner be independent in the morning:
- Pick out clothes at bedtime. This is a no-brainer, right? Ok, I admit I've forgotten lots of times, if you do it enough your child will remind you!
- Put an alarm clock in their bedroom and set it. They don't even have to be able to read time yet -- just have to know how to turn it off! We have one that has "sounds" (birds, rainforest, waves) in addition to the radio and BEEP BEEP, so that seemed more appropriate for waking her up.
- Show your child how to do her/his own hair. And don't criticize her when it's less then perfect! It's OK if your kid's hair is a little bit moppish. They will gain confidence, and gain their own sense of style. They play on the playground everday -- it's going to get messy anyway!
- Have breakfast food that they can access. We have fruit bars, bananas, fruit cups, and cereal. The key is to have things that do not require YOU (the parent) to be present in order for them to get started with breakfast. My kids know what are acceptable choices for breakfast from the pantry, and can get them out themselves in the morning.
- Have school supplies ready to go. Make sure lunches, backpacks, and anything else that is needed for the day is already packed and waiting at the door. I usually go through my daughter's backpack after she gets home from school, and repack after she goes to bed.