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Make Mornings Better

Make Mornings Better - PinterestThis morning I had to (nicely, of course) ask my children, multiple times, to do the following:

  • Get in the shower.
  • Pick out a shirt.
  • Bring me your lunchbox.
  • Put on the shirt you picked out.
  • Find your shoes.
  • Get in the shower (again).
  • Stop playing with the dog.

The end result was that approximately three minutes before the bus arrived, one child still didn’t have a lunchbox in their backpack, one couldn’t find their shoes, and the other had to go back inside because he had somehow managed to get grass all over his legs.

Most mornings, when my kids get on the bus I feel relieved to get back into a quiet house where I spend eight blissful hours not having to repeatedly ask little people to do something.

Mornings can be hard. Parents have a limited amount of time to get a lot of stuff ready to go for the day. And we all know how difficult it can be to get kids to focus on what needs to be done and help us out by listening.

I’m the first to admit that I am not a morning person, so I’m not very good at making changes to our morning routine and then sticking to them. But I have found a few things that work for us and seem to help us get all dressed and out the door more quickly, with a lot less frustration.

Pack lunches the night before.

It only takes me about five minutes to pack a lunch. But for some reason it feels like it takes hours and I hate it. When I make lunches the night before it feels like I save myself about five hours of time each morning. If your kids like to buy lunch, be sure you have the lunch menu posted in a central location in your house (like a Family Command Center) so you can quickly see if school is serving something your kids might enjoy.

Set out clothes the night before.

At nine and six, my kids are starting to have some vocal opinions about what they want to wear. Gone are the days where I could lay something out and they obediently put it on. Now they want certain brands, certain colors, certain fabrics … the list goes on. To avoid battles, each night before bed I put out clothes for my six-year-old and ask her opinion. My nine-year-old is old enough to dress himself but I still make sure there are enough clean clothes in his closet – clothes I know he’ll wear without complaint – so we can avoid drama in the morning.

Make sure everyone knows his or her job.

Whatever your children are responsible for in the morning, make sure they know what those jobs are. If your children are younger, it’s even better to have a list posted so they can clearly see what they need to do. You can even use it as a reward system – if they get everything done each morning, they can work toward a prize or reward.

No screens.

I am admittedly really bad about sticking to this one. My schedule is relatively flexible, so that means we usually have more than an hour and a half in the morning to get ready. My kids like to watch TV while they eat breakfast and, if they get completely ready, I sometimes allow them to play on their iPads. But this frequently backfires on me, as they whine about not getting to finish a show, or get distracted and I end up turning the screens off anyway so we can get ready on time. I firmly believe that my mornings would be much better if I limited screen time until everyone was fed, dressed, and totally ready to go.

Get up earlier.

I am not a morning person – it takes me at least an hour to feel like I’m fully awake, so this is really, really hard for me. But on the days I do force myself to get out of bed even just a few minutes earlier, I always feel more in control of my day. I can get some things done before the kids wake up or I can grab a few minutes of quiet with my cup of coffee, which helps me wake up and starts my day off the right way.

Know what’s for dinner.

After lunch dinner is the next most annoying part of my day. (I think I’m sensing a pattern here – perhaps I’m just tired of deciding what four people are going to eat three times a day!) I feel like dinner hangs over my head all day and I end up throwing something together at the last minute more than I’d care to admit. When I have my act together enough to plan meals for the week, I can look at the list each morning and know if I need to set hamburger meat out to defrost or put something in the crock pot. So while this does add another thing to my long morning to-do list, it takes a little stress out of the rest of my day.

What’s your best tip for making mornings better?

** If you want additional tips and tricks to get organized and manage your family’s schedule, check out our book, Are You Controlling Your Family’s Schedule, or Is It Controlling You? Additionally, it contains seven user-friendly printable resources for meal planning, creating a family command, center, a monthly calendar, and more.

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