We all know that getting out the house in the morning is what one without kids views as a simple task, but once you through kids into the mix, if viewed from the outside it looks like some form of a nut house run by a screaming banshee. The ting that never ceases to amaze me is that every morning is the same, it is not like we wake up and decide that today we will do something different. Yet no matter how many years we do the same thing, it still does not seem to get any easier. This was until I discovered a few tricks that help the mornings get off to a marvelous start.
Don’t leave it till the morning, this will create havoc. It is easier to look for a lost shoe the night before than it is when you are walking out the door. I find the easiest way to do this is, as soon as they walk in the door, they must unpack their bags, repack for the next day and get their uniforms ready for school. I tell them to quickly do this while I make them something to eat. All they are thinking about is food and so it gets done in double time.
So now school bags are repacked and ready for the next day, they now move to the designated area by the door. The same place every day so everyone knows where to find them. Uniforms are set out, so we don’t discover at the last minute that there are no clean socks or that they left their shoes at school. This way I can come up with a rational decision. All lunch snacks are 80% completed the night before so I just have a few fresh items to add to them and they are done.
The prep work is done, what to do in the morning?
I have no idea why, but children need a routine chart. Although they do the same thing every day, they have this knack of looking at you with disbelief that you asked them to go and brush their teeth. Like this is something new. We have a white board that very clearly sets out the morning routine:
- Wake up
- Have breakfast
- Brush your teeth
- Put on your uniform.
- Put your socks and shoes on.
- Brush your hair
- Take your tablets
- Feed your bunnies
- Bonus Time!!!
Instead of asking them 100 times if they have brushed their teeth, I just tell them to go and check their board again to make sure they have not forgotten anything. Yes, I still have to follow up, but I find that they are far more lightly to get it done when they have a list.
Stick to a set bedtime. This makes it easier to wake up in the morning and things run a whole lot smoother when everyone is alert. If you find that you run out of time in the mornings, wake up 15 minutes earlier, you will be surprised at what a difference 15 minutes can make.
When it comes to breakfast, unless you know you have the time, keep the hot meals for the weekend. Don’t make the mistake of asking them what they want for breakfast, this could take 45 minutes. Ask them if they would like to have A or B for breakfast, after all, it is not a hotel. Have a morning leader. Each morning your children have a turn to be the leader. (I had to explain the difference between a leader and a boss before it worked.) The leader’s job is to make sure that everyone is doing what they should be, that the family is running on time, and that Mom does not have to intervene. Kids love responsibility, this helps them feel important and they generally step up to the plate. If it is a job well done, then the leader gets rewarded.
As your children get older, they start to compare you with their teacher. How many times do you tell them to do something, or ask them to do it your way, and they reply with, “but my Teacher said”. Well I decided to run with this one. If they are wining, I ask them to please stop for a second so I can record them and see what their teacher has to say about it. Wow it is amazing how quickly they stop. Ask them for their opinion. “if your Teacher was getting you ready for School instead of me. What do you think she would do different?”
Keep it fun, create competition, give them a reward to look forward to. Once you are ready, then you can watch a bit of TV or play on your iPad. I love rewards, as it speeds everything up, but I also believe in consequence. If they don’t do what is expected, instead of getting yourself in a flat spin, drop them off at school late. They will learn very quickly that it is easier to do what is expected of them. Most importantly, keep it simple. Try and eliminate anything that will cause frustration. My son although 8, still battles with his laces, so instead of fighting every morning, I replaced them with thin black elastic, they look the same as the laces, but now he can just slip them on without having to tie them every day.
Don’t get me wrong, although these tips make the mornings easier, we still have mornings where everything falls apart. I’m convinced that sometimes the neighbors go and brush their teeth because I shout so loud.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Let us know what you find works in the morning, we love hearing from you xx MagicMoms.