If you are anything like me, mornings can be one of the most stressful times of the day. Trying to get myself out the door on time is hard enough, but add a few kids to the mix and it can be complete chaos. Here are a few tips I've found that help to conquer the morning madness:
- Get yourself up early
- This one change in my routine has helped more than anything else. I get up at least 30-45 minutes ahead of anyone else and get myself completely ready for the day before I start on the kids' routines. It is also nice to have a few moments of calm before anyone else is awake. You’ll see in some of the other tips how doing this one simple practice really helps me to focus on the kids in the morning, therefore getting us out the door quickly.
- Layout clothes the night before
- Kids tend to be grumpy and argumentative when they are tired in the mornings. By laying out their outfits the night before, it helps lessen the morning power struggle. Some families I know even have an organizer where each weekend, they put out an entire week's worth of clothing. I’m not that organized, but I like the idea!
- Pack lunches the night before
- I know some people don’t like to do this because they think the sandwich gets soggy (just keep lettuce or tomato off until the morning!) or the apples go brown (try covering them in sprite or other carbonated drink for a minute or two) but when my children were younger, this step was a lifesaver. For some reason, the extra 10 minutes it takes me to pack their lunches just always seems to have me rushed and late. It's nice to just pull lunchboxes out of the refrigerator and go.
- Make sure all shoes, backpacks and anything else needed are by the door
- I hate, with a capital H-A-T-E searching for shoes, and it seems they always go missing on the days we are late. Checking the night before to make sure all the shoes, school notes, backpacks, jackets, etc. are ready to go and by the door can make a world of difference.
- Create a routine
- Some children have a really difficult time in the mornings or really don’t want to go to school. That can be extra challenging for parents. A routine can definitely help because it gives structure to the morning, and the children learn over time that they will need to do the same thing every day. For my family, our routine goes something like this: kids wake up to their alarms. I go in about 5 minutes later to ensure they are up and ask them what they want for breakfast. I make them breakfast while they get dressed, and it is on the table and ready for them when they get to the table. They eat and brush their teeth while I grab lunch boxes and water bottles. They put on their shoes, I grab my keys, and we are out the door. When they were younger, I obviously had to help a bit more with getting dressed, teeth brushing, etc but the idea was the same.
- It may be backwards – but don’t leave a lot of extra time
- I know this is counterintuitive, but I find that when my kids know they have extra time, they just tend to dawdle and waste it. I like the concept of a more relaxed, non-rushed morning where the kids have time to slowly wake up, but reality is very different. At my house, we are 30 minutes from alarm going off to kids out the door, and it works really well for us. The kids aren’t rushed, but they know they have to keep moving without laying on the couch or going back to sleep. It’s not for everyone, but might be worth a shot.
Let us know what works for you and your family. I would love to hear your tips!