Many parents feel like circus leaders most mornings before school. They’re rushed to get lunches ready, backpacks packed, kids dressed and fed, and out the door to school on time. We want to help make your mornings a little less frantic. Below are some ideas to help improve your morning routine.
Create a “launch pad”. Having a dedicated departure and arrival zone frees you from playing detective in the mornings looking for missing shoes, backpacks, coats, or keys. Devote a mudroom, closet, garage space, or corner to being the launch zone. Have everyone, including yourself, leave backpacks, coats, school shoes and keys in the designated spot. And, don’t worry, it does not have to be Pinterest perfect!
Simplify the dress routine. This goes for parents AND kids. How many mornings have you stood there trying to figure out what to wear for the day? Indecision hits us all in the mornings, especially before coffee. Solve for this by getting organized on the weekend and setting aside a few outfits for the week. If you want to go a step further, pare down your wardrobe to a few work and casual outfits that you love. From there, rotate through the outfits each week. Another tip is to get up earlier than the kids, and get ready first. By the time the kiddos wake up, you are dressed and ready to tackle the rest of the morning routine.
If you are wasting time in the morning because of fashion battles with the kids, don’t. We have two solutions to this dilemma. One is to spend a few minutes on Sunday picking out their outfits for the week. You can do this with them or without them. Another option is letting children pick out their own outfits each day no matter how crazy the combinations. Enjoy the tutu and rain boot moments; it is the fun of having youngsters.
Be efficient about lunch. If they can buy it, let them. If that’s not an option, then make lunch when you are already in the kitchen making dinner the night before. Make a sandwich or cut fruit and veggies while you wait for the pasta to boil.
No TV in the morning. Even if you put the news on to check the weather, someone inevitably will become hypnotized by the television. Before you know it, you have lost 10 minutes in your morning schedule. Avoid this by enforcing a “no television before school” rule.
Alarms for everyone! Even your little ones can take ownership of their time. Let them pick out their own kid-friendly clock. Have them set various alarms and/or timers for morning tasks, such as when to get up and when they need to be dressed. It can be a fun race to see who finishes first or who can beat the alarm.
Put shoes and jackets on early, specifically 8 minutes before you need to leave. Eight minutes gives you enough wiggle room to make sure you leave on time. Depending on the day and morning mood, it could take three to six minutes for this task. Either way, you have plenty of time to make it out the door.
Make family time in the mornings. With after school activities, homework and other distractions, it becomes hard to get the entire family around the table at the same time. Try having a family breakfast, maybe not every morning, but a couple of times a week. Having a family breakfast on Mondays could help set a happy tone for the week and provide time for everyone to discuss their weekly plans.