I can’t possibly be the only parent that has chaotic mornings, right? If you have children, then I am sure you can understand why morning time is so crazy. For one thing kids have no conception of time. They wake up early, beg to stay up late, which ultimately results in us the parents being up much earlier than we would like. The crazy part is even though kids wake up at the break of dawn, they somehow always manage to be pushing time constraints to their absolute limit. For instance, my son wakes up at 6:45 a.m. (yay me!) and doesn’t leave for school until 8:20 am. So, you would think that is quite a bit of time to get dressed, eat breakfast, and make sure all the school necessities are packed. But it is never enough time for him and I scramble around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to quickly wrap together our morning routine. Which by the way, our routine was no routine.
So, given the amount of stress rushing every morning and the unending whining when I try to get my children moving, I decided to create a morning time system. A set of things I could do to ensure the smooth flow of activities to get our mornings done on time and with no tears. If you perhaps have this same problem with mornings, here are some of the tips and tricks I have employed to assist in the morning routine.
Tip #1 is to prepare ahead of time. I would like to think I am a planner but if I am honest with myself, I often spend my mornings rushing clothing into the dryer and hunting down that one lost sock. So, to help myself become more organized in my mind and routine I decided to prep things ahead of time. The first thing I have changed about my routine is to always put out the kids clothing the night prior. This is a super simple task and oh my goodness it will save you time. Of course, if you have an ultra-picky fashionista like my daughter, best to grab a few outfits so she can choose herself. I have a lovely little wire shelf that I got from Hobby Lobby and I put both kid’s outfits to include their shoes on the shelf for the morning.
Do you forget to pack your kid’s homework? Yes, I am guilty of this one. I somehow always forget to pack his homework and his library books, and his gym shoes. So, trick #2 is to pack the bag the night before. I made a wonderful little hanging file box from a cereal box covered in scrapbook paper. If you are interested in making your own file box, here is the link: https://diyprojects.com/things-can-make-from-cereal-boxes/ . Anyhow, the hanging file box, has my sons name on it and every and all important papers go into the box. I also put the box on the wall next to the front door and next to the key rack. This means that when I get ready to grab my keys, there is no way I will forget his papers…. hopefully.
Setting times. Now this one is the hardest one for us as a family but when they follow it, it does help. By setting times, I tell my children when they wake up, they have 20 minutes to watch cartoons, then they must eat breakfast. After breakfast, they have 10 minutes to get dressed. They get another 20 minutes to relax (free range). Then after that, they brush their teeth and put their shoes on and out the door we go. This will work best if your child understands and can read clocks. My son is five and we bought him a digital watch so he can keep track of when he must be ready by. Honestly he enjoys knowing the time and it has helped tremendously with keeping him on task.
Lesson learned with this last tip, always read the lunch menu to your child the night before school. I am the proud parent of an extremely picky eater. I have often had to scramble to the grocery store at 8 a.m. to grab lunch foods for my son when he suddenly decides he no longer likes something. Since the morning grocery dash is my least favorite part of the day, I decided right before my son’s bed time we go to the fridge and read what is on the lunch menu for the following day. He then can tell me if he wants to eat what is on the menu or if he would like cold lunch. Now I can pack his lunch the night before which is so much easier on me and him. I also prep his lunch box to include everything in it and put the whole box in the fridge, then I just must grab an ice pack and go.
These tips and tricks have transformed our morning routine. I wish I would have decided to make these changes earlier and I would have saved myself so many stressful mornings. I hope some of these tips can be useful and help in your morning routines. As always I would love to hear your ideas and tips on creating a smooth flowing morning.