The morning rush

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.

Mum preparation

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!

Task list

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.

Breakfast

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?

Kelly McCrohan                                                                          Mops Blog Administrator

Around the family table

I grew up in a large family of 6 children. One of the highlights of each day was our evening meal around the very long table. It wasn’t the food that made it special (although always tasty and made with love); it was the simple act of being all together around the family table. Continue reading “Around the family table”

Good is perfectly okay!

The day I left the hospital with my first born I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t just a case of the baby blues. It was an overwhelming sense of my own imperfection and the many ways I would fail her. We all know none of us are perfect mothers, and over the years I’ve had to learn that being ‘good’ is perfectly okay!

Continue reading “Good is perfectly okay!”

Caring Conversation with Your Children

When my son was young, he wanted me to lie with him at bedtime for “two minutes” every night. Of course, he would drag these two minutes out as long as possible. Sometimes he was just delaying going to sleep. Though this was often a time when he would share with me, ask the harder questions and our conversations would go deeper. So, in a way I didn’t mind that this practice lasted into my son’s high school years.  I knew that this time was not going to last forever. It’s so important to value and create caring conversation with your children. Continue reading “Caring Conversation with Your Children”

The creative art of mothering

I’ve had a few ‘creative phases’ in my life. In high school, it was writing. Later, it was designing and sewing children’s clothes. More recently, I’ve taken a brush to canvas. In each of those creative activities, I have particularly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes when the end product turns out as I’d hoped. If the poem is satisfying, I will repeat it to myself often – just because it pleases me. When a little girl’s dress or a baby’s playsuit is finished, I like to put it on a hanger where I can see it – just for the satisfaction it brings to me. (It doesn’t need to meet anyone else’s standard – just so long as it pleases me.) There is also a creative art to mothering. Continue reading “The creative art of mothering”

A diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted

I was driving home from dropping Eliana to her weekly social skills, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy session. I began to think back to how far our sassy six-year-old has come in the last four years. It seems not all that long ago that a diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted. Continue reading “A diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted”

Lead as a mum- because you already are!

 

Have you ever considered stepping up to lead, but didn’t? What held you back? Often is the lack of belief in our own skills and abilities that holds us back from stepping up to lead.

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Exercising when you have young children

You might think that you get enough exercise from chasing your children around all day!  However, it’s still important to fit some planned exercise in as it helps keep you mentally and physically fit. If you can find some space to exercise by yourself, it can also give some much needed time out. Exercising when you have young children is possible! So how do you fit exercise in while raising small children? There are a number of ways I made it work. Continue reading “Exercising when you have young children”

Remember Your Mountain Tops

Have you ever taken one of those quizzes where it asks if you’re a ‘beach’ or ‘mountain’ kind of girl? I answer ‘mountain’ every time.

There’s something about mountains. Their might and grandeur make me feel small, yet safe. There’s nothing like climbing to a mountain top and taking in the view or sitting in a valley under the shadow of its peaks.

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‘Who am I?’- Why this children’s book matters

I have always loved reading. My Dad’s bedtime stories transported me to faraway places (I’m looking at you Britain), and faraway trees. And thanks to a persistent set of siblings, we always squeezed in “one more chapter”. Once I could read myself, I’d stay in bed on weekend mornings, discovering stories from around the world in the pages of my books. I remember books about boarding schools and circuses, rainbow fish, and the place where the forest meets the sea. What I don’t remember was ever reading books that were set in Africa. I knew nothing of the stories there. This didn’t matter to me at the time, but it does now.

My first memory of learning about Africa was rice day at school.  We all ate rice to raise money for children in Africa. I also learnt a little about Africa from my family having sponsor children, and from the charity ads on TV.

Continue reading “‘Who am I?’- Why this children’s book matters”