The morning rush happens in households all over the country. Trying to get out the door on time with kids in tow can be challenging to say the least! Every household runs differently, and what works for you and your family might not work for someone else’s. Here are a few things I (a non morning person) have found helpful to avoid the morning rush.
Prepare kids the night before
It goes without saying, but getting enough sleep is likely to make kids a lot more cooperative in the mornings. Do your best to keep a regular bedtime where possible.
If your child doesn’t attend day care or kindergarten everyday, it can be useful to remind them the night before that it is happening tomorrow. Hopefully this will help them feel more prepared for the plan to get up, ready and out the door in the morning.
Picking out clothes seems to take a while in our house, and is often the source on conflict (shorts when it’s only 2 degrees out, really??!). To streamline this task, it can be helpful for you or your child, to select the outfit the night before. (Like me, you may not get your child to wear pants during winter, but at least you might get them in a respectable looking jumper!) Preselecting clothes can be especially helpful if a uniform is required; it will avoid the early morning rush to get something specific dried or ironed.
For me, when the kids hit the hay I want to immediately clock out too, but a little preparation in the evening goes a long way to make my mornings run smoother. If I have the kitchen all cleaned up in the evening, I feel less stressed and overwhelmed when I start my day.
Check your calendar for any important events like appointments, meetings, sports / pool days, or after school activities. Nappy bags, sport or swimming bags, or your work bag can easily be packed the night before to save time in the morning.
Some mums I know are stars at packing lunches the night before. That’s not me though. My kids don’t seem to eat sandwiches that are pre-made too far in advance. I do like to have a number of “pick and pack” snacks ready to go to make the process easier though; small pots of yogurt, veggie sticks, muffins, muesli bars or cut up fruit (that doesn’t brown). There are a tonne of make ahead snack and lunch recipes available online if you wants some inspiration!
A morning task list is good visual reminder of what needs to be done, and help children get ready. Something they can refer back to themselves can (hopefully) save you having to repeat yourself over and over. It also encourages independence and self-organisation in your child. Here’s our version of a Morning job list.
One of my kids is not a great lover of breakfast; and the lower their blood sugar (and the more they need food) the more indecisive they become. We have a few staples to choose from and don’t vary it too much. Quick options like toast or a smoothie can get things moving. Sometimes we let the kids “put in their order” the night before (limited options) as it feels fun and can skip the long ‘deciding’ phase in the morning.
Limit electronics and TV
Avoid electronics for kids (and parents alike) until the jobs are done. Electronics are a distraction that only make everything take so much longer, and is often a source of conflict. Granted, this is harder to control as kids get older. We are fortunate enough to have a smart TV that allows us to put a passcode on the TV to prevent use. You can also buy “smart plugs” that you can turn on and off with your phone to control device use.
Keep your cool
Nothing will derail the morning faster than a parent losing their cool.
“When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.”- L.R. Knost.
I have one child in particular who sometimes finds school attendance difficult. When they get worked up, and start resisting all attempts to get ready, I want to (and sometimes do) get frustrated and worked up too. But its more helpful if I remind myself of their anxious feelings, and have an attitude of compassion. I still aim to be ready on time, but also acknowledge with a hug that I understand it is not easy for them. They may need to sit with me for a bit to calm down, or need alone time. I need to make sure there is time and space in our morning for this to occur when needed (which is something I continue to work on).
Its never perfect, but these are just a few of the things I try to do to avoid the morning rush. What tips do you have?