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11 Morning Habits of Straight-A Students

Kiddo not a morning person? You don't have to be with these handy tips.

iStock/Mike Manzano

No snooze buttons allowed

Getting up on time is the key to a good morning routine. Ideally everyone (kids and adults) would wake on their own with the sun rising and the birds chirping because they went to bed on time and are perfectly rested. Yeah, right. In the real world most of us use alarm clocks. The trick is to just get up when it rings. Period. Everything else in your morning depends on getting up on time so just get up, even if you’re tired. Besides, snooze buttons really don’t help you get more sleep anyhow!


Dress before leaving the bedroom

Wandering around in pajamas all day is fun but save it for the weekends when you can really enjoy it. Most kids Reader’s Digest talked to said they choose their outfit the night before so they can step out of bed and into their clothes. Some parents even confessed they have their elementary-aged kids sleep in their clothes for the next day so they can wake up and be on the go. But no matter how kids get dressed, they have to stay dressed. No changing outfits a million times!


Chicken and waffles… for breakfast

Having a healthy breakfast is one of the best things kids can do to get their brains ready for a long day of learning. But shoveling down a bowl of cereal or a granola bar isn’t going to cut it, according to the latest nutrition research. Scientists from Duke University found that eating a breakfast full of healthy fats, whole grains, and a serving of protein helped kids learn new things faster and remember them better later. So skip the sugary fare and think meals like eggs and Scottish oats, avocado on whole-grain toast or even serve up some leftovers from dinner the night before—there’s no rule that says you can’t have chicken for breakfast! Check out these energizing breakfasts for kids.

iStock/Pamela Moore

Locked, stocked, and ready to rock

You can only get an A on that homework assignment if you have it to turn in! Smart kids (and their parents) know to get all their school necessities including homework, lunches, and permission slips, packed up in their bag and placed in the same spot every day, along with coats, mittens, or other school gear. Then you don’t waste precious morning minutes looking for the paper you swear you were just holding. These are the morning habits of highly organized people.


Rushing is for water, not kids

The number-one problem we heard from kids and parents about morning routines was being rushed. Hurrying often means losing shoes, missing breakfast, forgetting homework, and a lot of yelling. Faster is not always better, especially if it leads to a meltdown (of either the kid or adult variety). So if you are short on time keep things calm and cool, even if it means letting something small, like hair brushing, fall through the cracks. One day won’t hurt them and bed-head is all the rage now anyhow!


Life’s a musical

Music can help keep kids moving and get their creative juices flowing. Pick something energetic that the whole family enjoys and let it play in the background while you get ready. Or if they play an instrument, and you have time, morning is the perfect time to practice as it primes their brain for learning. One study from John Hopkins University found that both playing and listening to music helps improve academic performance in 16 different ways, including increasing focus and memory while reducing stress.

iStock/Christopher Futcher

Take a few minutes to meditate or pray

A few quiet minutes of self-reflection is good for body and soul and helps kids start the day feeling centered. It has educational benefits too: Children who practiced mindfulness every day significantly improved their memory and knowledge retention, according to a study done by Concordia University. And a separate study from the University of Exeter found that it made kids feel less stressed and increased their sense of well-being.


Schedule, schedule, schedule, and then schedule some more

You can’t stay on schedule if you don’t know what it is in the first place! Having a large calendar where everyone can see it can help the whole family see the plan for the day and the week. Then break down the morning’s tasks on a poster to help kids see what needs to get done next. (Older kids benefit from making their own task list.) There’s something very satisfying for kids about being able to check items off a list. Dressed? Check. Teeth brushed? Check. Excellent day ahead? Double check!


Ten minutes of exercise

Chances are kids don’t have the time (or desire) for a full workout first thing in the morning but some vigorous movement can not only help wake them up faster but can set them up for success in the classroom. Whether it’s jumping up and down the stairs, bouncing on a mini-trampoline, doing push-ups or just chasing each other around the yard, even ten minutes can improve children’s attention, memory, and learning skills in the classroom, according to a study published by Active Living Research. Plus it never hurts to get the wiggles out before a long day of sitting!


Follow the same routine every day

The fewer decisions that have to be made in the morning, the better. Having a set morning routine takes the guess work out of what needs to get done. Plan a certain breakfast for each day (i.e. Waffle Wednesdays or Toast-n-eggs Tuesdays), have a hanging organizer with five days of outfits already picked out, place the toothbrushes and toothpaste in cups by the sink, and then do each thing in the same order every day. This way kids don’t waste time waffling over too many choices and everyone knows what to expect.

iStock/Sasa Dinic

No social media

It’s oh-so-tempting for older kids to check their Snapchats, Instagrams or other social media first thing in the morning but nothing derails a schedule like the black hole of “just one more minute” on electronics. Plus, if they see something upsetting, it may throw them off for the rest of the day. Save this one for after school or, at the very least, on the ride to school.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.

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