Simple morning and nighttime routines can reduce stress for everyone and help your pre-teen feel more confident and secure.

Routines don’t have to be rigid to be effective. Talk with your middle-graders about what tasks must be accomplished every morning and evening, and brainstorm how they want to organize and achieve those. For example, you may have one child who does best when they choose their school clothes the night before. Another child may do well picking their outfit in the morning. The goal is to help each child understand what is expected, formulate a plan, then execute it daily.

Your children will be more likely to adapt routines if they see you following your own practices. For example, you might make lunches for everyone the night before, show your children how you’re planning for the work the next day, etc. Talk about how you check the gas in the car and groceries on hand for lunches so you won’t have to rush in the morning.

Let’s start with nighttime routines to help you set up the following day for success.

  1. Agree on a bedtime and keep it consistent. Build in time for reading together before lights out.
  2. Before bed, have your child pack their backpack. Make sure all homework is completed, forms signed, etc.
  3. Shower or bathe.
  4. Brush teeth.
  5. Pick out clothes for the next day.

In the morning,

  1. Have a consistent wake-up time. Try to stick to the time on weekends as well as weekdays. Make waking up fun! Allow time to cuddle with each child, play upbeat music, and talk about good things that might happen during the day.
  2. Have breakfast. Breakfast doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated, but starting the day together at the table can give the family members a chance to check in with each other.
  3. Shower or bathe (if not done at night), brush teeth, fix hair, and dress.
  4. Make bed or do other morning chores.
  5. Take care of pets.

Send each child on their way with affirmations and reminders that they are loved like crazy.