By this time of the year that new school smell has worn off about everything…and the smooth flow of your family’s morning routine may have been replaced with a lack of motivation and unfortunate chaos.
While every commercial for quicky breakfast items shows busy families happily rushing out the door at the last minute, joyfully guzzling the product de jour at warp speed, we all know that days that start with a chaotic push are more stressful, less productive, and just plain unpleasant.
Here are 5 fail proof ways to eliminate the hurry and worry, and start the day on a calm, cool, and collected note.
While you may not be tripping the night fantastic here…maximizing the evening time will save precious morning minutes. Here are a few ideas:
(Depending on the ages of your children, you may be the supervisor and not the do-er.)
I hear kids and moms alike complain about the hassles of getting everyone up in the morning. Mornings are too often a series of arguments just to get everyone out of the bed in the morning.
By the time morning arrives, you have been missing your babies for at least 8 hours. You want to celebrate your reunion. You want to say, “Good morning!” You want your kids to know you love them and you are happy to see them. When mornings start with a fight, that message gets lost.
The fix to this dilemma is easy. Use an alarm clock, and get yourself out of the equation. For whatever reason, many moms are hesitant to empower their kids with an alarm clock. They typically report feeling it is too “grown up” for their little ones.
It’s just a clock. We all recognize the need to teach kids to use a clock. We just seem to get a little wiggy when the clock makes noise.
My kids all got an alarm clock between the ages of 2 and 4. They have been using their noisy clock for 15 to 22 years and no signs of trauma have been noted by me, nor reported by them. My kids get up independently, aren’t late, and I get to say, and hear “Good morning” instead of starting the day with a nagging fight about starting the day.
Give yourself sufficient morning prep time. Sleeping until the last minute is fine, as long as “the last minute” is about 10 minutes more than you need on your family’s slowest days. Trying to squeeze the morning routine into too few minutes will come back to bite you every time.
If your kids are young, and/or need a lot of support to stay on track in the mornings, consider being up and ready before the feet of your little loves hit the floor. Trying to direct the morning routine from the bathroom between blow drying and mascara applying isn’t effective and just adds anxiety to everyone’s morning. (Having a calm morning is soooo worth any lost sleep.)
Break the morning routine into chunks of time to keep everyone on schedule and help your kids learn to pace themselves. Assign a certain amount of time for each task. Here’s an example of a morning schedule:
7:00 am – The kids wake up, get dressed, and make their beds
7:15 am – Breakfast starts
7:30 am -- Breakfast ends, time for toothbrushing/hair brushing
7:40 am – Out the door
Now all you have to do is choose your timekeeper. You can use an egg timer, the hands on the clock, the numbers on a digital clock, or anything else of your choosing. For example you might say, “By the time the big hand is on the 3, you need to be at the table eating your breakfast.”
Consider making a chart, complete with times (or pictures of clocks, etc.). Your kids can check off tasks as completed, or your kids can give themselves a star for days they complete all their tasks on time. Tap into whatever approach motivates your kids, and reap the rewards.
If the TV is on, the kids are going to watch it. If everyone is in the bathroom at the same time, there will be fighting and complaining. You get the idea.
For a successful morning you need to remove the distractions. Nagging kids to stop looking at the television simply does not work…and depending what’s on, they may be nagging at you. If you need to watch the news, the weather, the traffic, whatever…turn it on, and then turn it off.
If you have more than one child, step back and look at the routine. Where are your kids going to cross paths, and what impact is that going to have? Are they going to play, or fight, at the breakfast table? If so, you may want one to get up and eat right away, and the other to get dressed and make the bed first. Then they can switch. An ounce of prevention is so worth a pound of cure.
Cell phones should be up and out of the way until everyone is ready to head out the door, and if you all enjoy the radio in the morning, keep the volume down to a low roar. Starting your days with calm, quiet, and peace, puts all you in the best possible frame of mind to face the day. If you like to blast the tunes to pump yourself up for the day, rock out in the car on the way to work.
Check out these helpful resources:
Organizing Your Morning (Video)