kid riding a bike on the wooden bridge

The perfect storm that is ‘getting ready for school’

Why screen based activity should not be part of a child’s morning routine

Whether your children are up at the crack of dawn or you have to drag them kicking and screaming from bed, getting ready for school is a busy time of the day. It can be tempting to pop on a screen to give yourself time (& peace!) to get through ALL those things that need to be done before getting out the door.

But does being inactive (ie playing on or watching a screen) prepare kids to be ready to learn? Whichever way you look at it, the answer is NO. So, what can we do instead? Here’s a few ideas that will help your child be ready to learn.

Get your children moving! Movement:

  • provides the muscles and joints with the input needed to feel calm and focussed (this is called proprioceptive input)
  • warms up their hands ready for writing (swiping a screen absolutely does not count, no matter how ‘educational’ the app may be)
  • increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, which helps concentration and memory
  • helps regulate impulsive behaviour
  • helps relieve anxiety
  • produces endorphins to regulate their mood
  • increases opportunities for social interaction.

Ideas to incorporate movement into your child’s morning routine:

  • Jobs around the house – make their own breakfast, pack lunch box, wipe the kitchen bench/table, sweep the floor, unpack dishwasher, peg out laundry
  • Have a small tray set up with kinetic sand or playdough (hand warm ups)
  • Jump on the trampoline
  • Write a ‘have a nice day’ message in chalk on your sidewalk in huge colourful letters
  • Get the binoculars (2 toilet rolls will do!) & ask them to spot 4 animals outside
  • Animal walks to the car (Monday bear walk, Tuesday crab walk etc)
  • Park the car a little further away at drop off
  • Have your child carry their own back pack to school
  • Most importantly, a nice, firm hug at drop off!

So, I challenge you to 5 days of a getting your child moving before school! We’d love to hear the results – and don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher about any changes that they notice too!

Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.