In a lot of households, mornings can quickly turn into battle zones where total chaos reigns. Multiply the degree of difficulty by the number of family members and, let's face it, mornings can be a trying time.
So why not simplify your school mornings with these 5 easy tips that can save a lot of time and can help prevent a ton of frayed nerves.
Tip #1: Stick to a routine
It's true: kids love a routine. By getting into a morning groove you are actually reassuring your kids and securing their cooperation. Get them up at the same time every day and get them to attack all their different morning tasks in exactly the same order: make their bed, brush teeth, get dressed, breakfast… without forgetting that trip to the loo before going out the door! With a well-established routine, your kids will know exactly what you expect of them at all times and you won't have to be constantly reminding them of what to do.
Tip #2: Get ready the night before
To reduce the ruckus of your morning battles, nothing beats keeping the tasks at hand to a bare minimum. Take care of anything you can the night before. Get all the clothes out, make sure boots and shoes are neatly arrayed in matching pairs (a classic time waster!) and get the backpacks ready and set them by the front door. Lunch boxes should be packed and stored in the fridge and the breakfast corner should be ready for action, with all the plates, bread, cereal, etc., placed on the counter or table within easy reach.
Tip #3. Encourage independence
“I can do it all by myself!” Seeing as that kids are constantly declaring their independence, why not put it to good use? Determine which tasks they can be reasonably expected to accomplish on their own and let them manage them themselves. Can they button their clothes, pour their own milk and brush their teeth without your help? Cheer them on! And the older siblings can help the younger ones pick up after themselves. A shirt put on inside out? Mismatched socks? Let it go. It's really no big deal.
Tip #4. Participation, consultation and… reward!
Getting Junior to take part in the decision making can really pay off. If your little guy picks out his own clothes or packs his lunch with you, you can avoid those last-minute squabbles. Try it for yourself: announce that the household can watch 10 minutes of cartoons before leaving provided everyone is ready ahead of time. Or, at bedtime (not in the morning when the kids are still half asleep), ask them what they want for breakfast, warning them they'll have to stick with their choice. You'll end up saving oodles of time.
Tip #5. Allow ample time
You can plan and organize everything down to the last second, but you'll still end up being short of time, especially if you have children. So try building in a buffer into your schedule. If you need to leave for school at 8 sharp, set your sights on 7:45 and organize your entire routine around that target time. The 15 extra minutes will come in handy for managing those lovely morning surprises. Because, as sure as the sun rises, even with all the brilliant tips in the world, you know something is going to throw a wrench into your plans.
Happy, harmonious mornings from Olymel!