Ten Routines that Can Help Your Preschooler Before and After School

We’ve all had those mornings and evenings – the ones where it seems nothing can go right and just about anything that can go wrong will.  Unfortunately, everyone is going to have those days from time to time.  However, there are some things you can do to help maintain better control of your mornings and evenings to help ensure you have less of those crazy days.  Setting routines in place for your family can make a huge difference in the way your mornings and evenings pan out.  Children typically thrive in a structured setting where routines are followed.  It makes their life more predictable, which in turn will help make your life easier.  Below are a few routines that can help your preschooler before and after school.

1. Pick out your child’s clothes the night before school.

This will avoid the “I don’t have anything to wear!” argument because the clothing will have already been decided upon. It also lets preschoolers help pick out their clothes and remember that they’re going to preschool the next day.

2. Eat dinner together as a family without any distractions.  

In this world of busy schedules and technology, it’s easy to forgo this step in your nightly routine.  However, this is such an important part of your evening.  It allows your family to stay connected, and it gives your child the opportunity to hold a conversation where they have the chance to speak in complete sentences.  It is a great way to build toddlers’ language skills!

3. Have a specific place for your child’s backpack and shoes. 

This will allow them to have responsibility for coming home and placing their items where they go.  It will also make your mornings less stressful because your child’s belongings will be in the same place.  This is great practice for Kindergarten too.

4. Avoid technology and screen time right before bed.  

Screen time reduces the melatonin that naturally occurs in the bloodstream which is a hormone that aids in sleep.  Instead, try reading a bedtime story or have bathtime.

5. Have a structured and predictable bedtime routine.  

Doing the same activities in the same order each night lets your child know it is time to wind down.  Allow them some time to play and relax in the bathtub.  As soon as they are done, put on their pajamas on and get ready for bed.

6. Try to get up before your child does.  

I know this isn’t always an option; however, getting up even thirty minutes before your child will allow you extra time to focus on getting your morning to-do list done.

7. Keep the television off before preschool.  

Take this time to connect with your child and talk to them without distractions.  It will allow for a calm morning that will set the tone for their day as well as minimize separation anxiety when they go to daycare or preschool.

8. Provide your child with a visual cue of their morning routine.  

This can include pictures of making their bed, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing their hair, brushing their teeth, etc.  The visual cues are especially helpful for toddlers and preschoolers.

It is inevitable that you will have a crazy morning or evening from time to time.  Life happens and sometimes those hiccups just can’t be avoided.  However, putting structured routines in place can help your mornings and evenings run smoother, which in turn can help your child have a much smooth day at preschool and school.  You don’t have to jump in with both feet – start small.  You will be surprised at the difference a set routine will make in your life!