By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
Morning routines for school are essential to getting out the door on time – dressed, fed and ready to roll.
But school morning routines for remote learning are just as critical to having a successful day – minus the getting out the door part. This is because you are still expected to get up, show up, and perform, even if you never leave your house.
I argue that a good school morning routine actually starts the night before, so that’s why step 1 below begins in the evening.
Also, you’ll want to read this post here where I explain 4 steps to actually making a morning routine stick around long term.
Steps to a smooth morning routine for school during remote learning
THE NIGHT BEFORE
1. Shut down your workspace.
The night before, make sure your workspace is tidy, clean, and shut down for the day. Throw away trash, put papers where they belong, and put away supplies.
2. Plan out your schedule for the following day.
If you’re doing remote learning, you’ll still likely have to log into classes at particular times each day. You should have all of this information planned out before you go to bed; you don’t want to go to bed not knowing what time your first class is!
Use a digital calendar to plan your day, or use a simple paper-based agenda like this one or this one.
3. Set your alarm for the same time each day.
Even if your first class is always at a different time, get up at the same time every morning. The more consistent your wake-up time, the easier it is to wake up.
IN THE MORNING
4. Get up when your alarm goes off.
If you struggle with this, then set two alarms one minute apart. If you really struggle with this, then put your alarm clock (probably your phone) across the room so that you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
5. Keep breakfast simple.
If you’re going to eat breakfast first-thing in the morning (some do, some don’t) then keep it simple: either eat the same thing each day, or rotate between a few no-think items. The less options you give yourself, the less time you’ll spend making your decision.
If you don’t like to eat breakfast first-thing in the morning, then at least schedule in a consistent time (perhaps in between your first two classes?) when you’ll eat something. Again, stick to a few choices to eliminate wasting energy on a minor decision.
6. Get dressed like you’re going to school.
Whether you get dressed before or after you eat doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get yourself dressed for school, even if you’re not going anywhere. Sure, you can dress comfortably, but for the love of it all, don’t wear your pajamas. Getting dressed makes others take you more seriously, and it makes you take you more seriously.
7. Check your email.
Some time before your first class, check your email for updates and announcements.
8. Set up your space.
Your workspace should be clean and tidy from the night before, but now’s the time to set up your space with what you’ll need for the first class. Get your water, notebooks, headphones, and other supplies prepared and accessible.
You’re ready. A few minutes before your first class, fire up your computer and get your login info ready to go. Show up to your class on time.
10. Bonus tip for a perfect world:
I cannot write about morning routines without discussing exercise / movement. I know how difficult it can be to have time to workout before school, but if there’s any way that you could walk the dog or walk around the block for at least 10 minutes before school starts, then your body and brain are going to be able to focus so much more. If you go directly from sleeping to waking up to sitting at the computer, your energy is likely to regress back to a resting state.
Additionally, studies have proven time and time again the positive relationship between exercise and the brain centers related to learning. It’s science, folks.
If it’s impossible for you to do anything exercise / movement related before your first class, then definitely work it into your schedule at some point later in the day.
Final tips about remote-learning morning routines for school
I’m going to wrap up this post with the same advice I gave in my other post about morning routines. It’s as follows:
“You might question if having a morning routine is really worth it. Maybe you feel that the way you’ve been doing things up until now is basically working for you. And if it is really, truly already working, then you might actually already have morning routine and just never saw it that way.
But if your school mornings are stressful and result in a broken gargoyle-like start to your day, then what’s the harm in trying something new? Start by creating a simple checklist of actions that must be completed before starting class, and do these items for at least two straight weeks. At the end of the two weeks, reward yourself for sticking to the routine, and then set another goal, followed by another reward. Maybe your ultimate prize will be a new set of unicorn wings.”