Here’s a scenario occurring in busy households everywhere, including your own. One or both parents awake to the sound of an alarm before jumping out of bed so the kids can make it to school on time. After a struggle to organize knapsacks, lunches, breakfast and unruly hair, you send your kids on their way. The stress of having no morning routine is enough to send any parent crying back to bed. A combination of planning, a few simple changes and encouraging the kids to pitch in is all that’s required to create a productive morning routine.
Create a Morning Schedule
As a family, create a simple morning routine. Emphasis must be placed on the word “simple,” especially if you have small children. Older adolescents and teens can probably handle more complex morning rituals. Once you’re finally able to pull the kids into the same room, get everyone’s input. Do you need to wake up a younger child 30 minutes before the older kids to give him or her some extra attention? Is it necessary to create elaborate meals every morning instead of handing your kids cereal and milk now and then? Once the specifics are down, create a physical chart with markers and poster board. Hang the “Morning Routine” chart in a common area, such as the kitchen. Don’t hesitate to periodically draw attention to the schedule to keep things moving.
The Night Before
One of the simplest ways to make your morning less hectic is by preparing as much as you can the night before. For instance, help your little ones pick clothing for the next morning. When it comes to your teens, insist they narrow down their choices the night before as well. If your children take a lunch, pack one before putting everyone to bed. Finally, the most important way to cut down on morning stress is by making sure your children get enough sleep. Set a bedtime according to your child’s age.
Give Yourself Time in the Morning
As a busy mum, you probably cannot wait to enjoy the five minutes of peace that occurs after your children are in bed. Instead of struggling to stay awake every night to enjoy a few minutes alone, why not get up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than the kids? Start breakfast or take a shower and get ready for work if necessary, but don’t feel guilty if you spend those 30 minutes enjoying a cup of coffee while watching your favourite morning chat show. Once the caffeine starts to kick in and you’ve had a few minutes to relax, start waking up the kids according to the amount of time each requires to get ready for school. Generally, it’s best to start with younger children.
Kids, Clothes and Breakfast
If you’ve laid out your children’s clothing the night before, help them get dressed before tackling breakfast. When it comes to breakfast for little ones, only provide them with two to three healthy choices. Once they’ve made a decision, stick to it. Older adolescents and teenagers are more than capable of preparing their own food, so provide them with a few healthy options as well. If things begin to steer off-course, point to the “Morning Routine” schedule to get everyone back on track. Once everyone is fed and clothed, hand out the knapsacks and send them off to school.
Once you’ve created a sensible morning routine, if you have young children, you also want to ensure everything in your child’s knapsack doesn’t walk away with his friends. Placing school labelson your child’s books, clothing and supplies is the most cost-effective way to keep all belongings safe and in their proper place.
About the Author: Janet Franklin is a blogger and mum of three. Neither Janet nor any of her family members are “morning people.”