“Mom, Danielle is hogging the bathroom.” “Mom, Ian is eating all of the oatmeal.” “I can’t find my socks.” “Dad, who’s taking us to school?” “I don’t want eggs. I want peanut butter.”
Surely, as parents, you have heard similar cries from your children in the morning as you scramble to get everyone ready for the day. Sometimes, your mornings are simply chaotic, especially if you have more than one child. You already have an established routine whereby chaos describes the atmosphere. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
With a bit of intentional planning, your mornings can run smoothly and everyone can start their day with a sense of calm. You are prepared for work, the kids are ready for school and you have the little one prepared for the babysitter. Sounds like a dream, but it can be your daily reality….if you do your planning the night before. The process can even be fun, too.
Toss the routine, it isn’t working. Instead create rituals-which are intentional, carefully planned and can result in fun mornings. At the very least, mornings in your home can be less stressful. The night before is critical to creating rituals. So, rather than spending your last waking moments on Twitter or Pinterest, plan the next morning.
The number one thing you want to do is help your children decide what they will wear the night before. If they are required to wear school uniforms, that becomes even easier for them. From head to toe, everything will be laid out for them, so in the morning there is no scrambling around looking for clothes. Let them choose their ensemble. Some folks lay out clothes for the week, as well.
For younger children, limit their choices to two outfits. Two pair of shoes, two dresses or pants and shirts, etc… Just two, very important for toddlers striving for autonomy. It is also wise to arrange clothes in their closets or drawers in outfits. Your children get to make decisions with minimal fuss, when they feel that they have decided for themselves. Much better than having a 2-year old screaming and being totally uncooperative.
Next thing is to prepare lunches, and/or breakfast the night before. This way, all your children have to do is grab and go. No need for elaborate breakfasts, Children are satisfied with simple morning meals. As long as the meal offers nutrition and energy, it will suffice. Save the 3 course meals for your weekends and days off.
Consider who wakes up first and on time. Younger children will tend to wake themselves in the morning. School children will most often need to be awakened. Some children wake up differently. Some easily and ready to start their day and others wake up like zombies.
Try to train these children to wake up and get their brains working. Once your child reaches adolescence, get them accustomed to waking up by an alarm clock. You’ll st the appropriate time at first, and over time, they will take on that responsibility themselves.
The absolutely most potentially chaotic part of any morning routine is bathroom time. That must be well planned. Timing is everything, especially since most homes do not have enough bathrooms for everyone to have their own. Decide on a schedule for each child to use the bathroom-brushing teeth, combing hair, etc…. Create a rotating chart of activities. For example: While your son is brushing his teeth and combing his hair, your daughter could be getting dressed in her room.
Your children may have chores to do before school. Making their beds is an important one. Plan your morning and their rising time with this in mind. You may have to adjust your night time sleep hours in order that you may awaken earlier in order to ensure the morning begins smoothly.
Mornings are all about planning. Don’t forget to have your children place all of their school-related supplies in their book bag the night before; before they go to bed. This way, they don’t get to school and tell their teachers that, “I forgot my homework.” Not a good look.
As long as you plan the night before, consider yourself as well. This also suggests that you awaken before the kids, to get yourself together. Knowing that a carefully planned morning ritual is in place, you give yourself time for morning prayer, the perfect cup of coffee, and the children will be better prepared for breakfast, and arrive at school ready to learn. Your children will be morning people, there’ll be less stress, and you can start your day ready have a good one.