By: Lauren Tankle
Can you imagine waking up well rested and having a calm, quiet morning getting yourself and your children ready for school? Yah, me neither. As a full time working mother of a 6 year old boy who just started the first grade, I am constantly struggling to manage getting him and myself ready in the morning. As soon as the alarm goes off, the morning becomes a whirlwind of yelling, getting toothpaste on every surface of the bathroom and trying to get myself dressed before he comes barging into my room complaining about not being able to find his shoes that are laying in the middle of his room, clear as day. I’m beginning to believe that nice quiet mornings are a myth, much like the unicorn. Some days are better than others, but it’s taken me six years to get a handle on my morning routines.
Here are 5 ways I’ve learned to help me make my mornings a little less chaotic:
Get a routine and stick to it!
Having a routine eliminates your child going into your room to ask you what task to do next. Routines maintain consistency and expectations so your kids will be less likely to stray from the task of preparing for the day. I can’t tell you how many times I went downstairs after getting dressed to find that my son ended up playing with his Legos instead of brushing his teeth. There are long term benefits to developing a morning routine, such as getting into healthy habits like brushing their teeth and time management. Having a morning routine could also reinforce having a nighttime routine at bed time. The earlier you get kids started on good habits, the better!
Have a designated spot for jackets, backpacks and shoes.
After wasting so much time looking for all the items my son and I will need for the day, I ended up making an area where backpacks live and jackets hang so there is no running around in the morning looking for miscellaneous items. I created a command center in my home for mail, my purse, keys and reminders. This helps me gather everything I need in the morning with ease because it’s all in one spot. Having a calendar and cork board to pin reminders and notes on helps to remind me of specific events or tasks to do that day.
Prepping lunches the night before.
I like to prep the night before in case I sleep through my alarm or something happens to slow down my morning process. This way, I’m not stuck scrambling to put together meals for the day. Prepping lunches the night before allows you to just grab your things and go.
Complete errands on your way home from work.
This is something I struggled with for a long time. When I leave work, I just want to run home and forget my working world. I have constantly succumbed to the temptation of chilling on the couch instead of doing small tasks like getting gas for the next day or mailing the electric bill. I would say to myself, “I’ll just do it in the morning” and then don’t end up doing it, for like, three days. I have learned to save myself the aggravation and just do those silly tasks after work before I go home; that way I have one less thing to do.
Bed Times, Bed Times, BED TIMES.
Bed times are key. The last thing I want to do with the little bit of energy I have in the morning is drag a fifty pound kid out of bed. Having your child go to bed at a reasonable time can help them not to be a total zombie in the morning, moving at the speed of a snail. The last thing you want to do is start yelling at your kids to hurry up or pulling covers off them so they will get out of bed. It just makes everyone grumpy and stressed out. If you start the day on a positive note, the day will more likely remain on a positive note. Set a bed time and stick to it. Your child will get into the rhythm after a while and bed time will become a piece of cake. I promise! The earlier you start good sleeping habits, the better. A good night’s sleep for children is important for other reasons other than making your life easier. A good sleep schedule has positive, long term effects on kids regarding their attention spans, neurologic and social development.
I hope these tips help out fellow mamas take back their mornings and keeps everyone from starting their day running around like a chicken with their head cut off.
If you have any other tips or tricks you have learned throughout your parenting career, leave a comment below so other moms can learn about even more ways to obtain a stress free weekday morning!