Cultivate a learning mindset while you eat your toast.
Take a deep breath and think about a normal, pre-quarantine school day.
What did your morning look like?
Chances are, it looked pretty similar every day.
Maybe you were the first one up, and you were able to have a cup of coffee before the kids were up. Or maybe you have early risers who were consistently your alarm clock, and you started your day snuggling in bed.
After that, in some kind of order, there were teeth that were brushed, lunches that were packed, breakfast that was eaten, clothes that were put on, faces washed, and maybe on special days there was some kicking, screaming and tears too?
And then there was the rush to get alllll the way out the door with the backpacks and the lunches and shoes on….
It honestly makes me tired to remember this!
What you may or may not have noticed in the craziness of it all is that routine, that morning rhythm, was what set your kiddo up for the rest of their day of learning. It was the essential first step that set the tone and prepared your child to learn in the most optimal way.
NOW, think back to a typical quarantined school day. What did your schedule look like? (You may be laughing now.) Did you follow a routine? Was there a ritual to the morning, or was it people trailing out of bed whenever they felt ready to get up?
The easy rhythm to fall into in an at-home learning environment is to stay super chill, keep the jammies on till 2pm, and chip away at the learning. While this is definitely an option, if you make it the default, what can sometimes get lost is setting up that fundamental learning mindset.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. The ritual of getting ready sets up the day for success, and so even though learning is happening at home now, the morning routine is the essential first step to setting up readiness for the school day.
In my house, quarantine meant bedtime shifted later, which meant my kids needed to sleep later in order to be their best. The GREAT NEWS is that this was not a problem! The brilliant thing about at-home learning is that you get to set the schedule!! What matters is the routine and the structure you set up that leads up to learning time, whether it starts at 8am or 10am! And this is where Quaranteaching has an edge on school, friends. YOU get to decide and set the routines, rituals and boundaries. There is a lot of freedom here!
Before quarantine, home was home, school was school, work was work, etc. And home was our safe haven -- it meant relaxing, it meant lower pressure and lower stakes. Home was our comfortable place to unwind after all the hard work was finished.
And NOW, home has become everything to everyone. And for kids especially, the boundaries are super blurry. This means that we can’t just expect them to snap into a learning mindset when we decide it’s time to hit the books. Providing a morning routine to help create a ready mindset can greatly improve the outcomes of the day.
One major bonus about this morning routine is that you DON’T employ it on the weekends or holiday or breaks. And by letting weekends be weekends, and holidays be holidays, we reinforce our at-home learning boundaries even more. Letting kids sleep in and have a choice about their weekend mornings can be excellent incentive to get them through the week with something different and more relaxing to look forward to after the hard work is done.
So how do you create a morning routine? It’s super easy. Just make a list of all the things you think you and your kiddo need to do in order to be ready to shift into learning mode. A few things are essential:
In addition, I suggest you add something fun to this list. Maybe a morning walk around the block, some time in the garden, or perhaps a song or playlist that you listen to. By adding in something enjoyable, you add positivity and a more relaxed tone to the day. Also, the transition between morning readiness routine and learning time will be signaled by this one activity that you perform over and over. This means that instead you having to say over and over, “After our walk we get straight to work,” your child will know that after your walk, you get straight to work. The activity triggers the transition. Brilliant, right?
Creating an intentional morning routine will help shift kids (and you!) into a learning mindset that will not only help with readiness, but will also help to create a school boundary that exists within your home, without taking over your home.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar