As a former elementary school teacher and mom of two, occasionally the line between these identities blurs a little. Thankfully, my kids listen politely when I reveal the theme of the week and respectfully feign interest about exciting field trips to exotic locals like...the grocery store. They play along and give their mama her teacher fix or perhaps they know it’s just easier to give in and get it over with. Either way, it’s helpful having a few pedagogical tricks up my sleeve. Especially on school days during the harried a.m. hours known as “the time between get up and get out.”

Getting the crew dressed, fed and watered can be hectic. In the quest for sane and reasonably productive mornings, we serve up a little cognitive warm up alongside our cereal. I give you...

The Brain Food Bin

These bins contain an assortment of age appropriate activities intended to stimulate the brain. Along with a healthy breakfast, brains also need to be fed right? Coincidently, this keeps my offspring out of my hair, while I assemble lunches, gulp down coffee and possibly check email. My oldest child sets an egg timer for five minutes and they begin the first activity. When the timer rings, that activity goes to the bottom of the bin and they start the next task. We take a break to eat breakfast and resume activities until it’s time to go to school. What’s in the bin?

Homework – i.e. reviewing weekly spelling word lists and math facts
Library book
Colouring books
Sketch pad
Printing Practice worksheets

Let your children select a classical CD to play during this time as well. Classical music stimulates the brain, plus it sets a soothing tone for the day. Don’t worry, you can switch on the Gaga once they’ve left for school.