Do some mornings feel like a losing battle? Trying to get kids ready for school or childcare, maybe getting yourself ready for work, organising everyones belongings in the right place etc there are always plenty of things to do no matter what age your children are. In our house, morning times go one of two ways. Either fantastic, organised and calm or absolutely crazy with panicking, hurrying, a bit of yelling and half-eaten breakfasts. There is no in between for the Gribben house, I’m not sure why!
Maybe you can identify with this. We are slowly learning that if we do certain things in preparation for our day, we can create a calm atmosphere. This is a steep learning curve, but we are getting better. Maybe some of these ideas will help you, too.
- Make lunches the night before. Lay out the lunch boxes, flasks etc on the kitchen bench so they are just ready to be filled with chilled foods (or hot if taking hot lunch). Even getting out things like the packets of crisps or spoons for the yogurts and putting them in the lunch box will give you one less thing to do in the morning. Every little helps!
- Lay out everyone’s clothes, in the correct order they need to be put on (even your own). I know this sounds a bit fussy. But if you have young children, who are a bit groggy in the mornings, having their clothes laid out properly can really help them to see visually what they need to do. Putting their uniform on the bottom of the pile, then socks or tights on top of this, then underwear on the very top can help speed up getting dressed. Even when our middle child was 2 years old, she could follow this plan in attempt to get herself dressed. I recommend that laying out clothes be a part of your bedtime routine, it only takes a minute, but encourages independence so that your child learns how to organise themselves.
- Set the breakfast table. Obvious one! But it will save time in the morning. Again, if you can encourage your children to do this before bedtime, that’s even better!
- Keep your cool! No matter how well organised you are, or how early you have got out of bed, or how positive you feel, there will be days when your children just won’t co-operate. Someone will refuse to wear shoes, someone else won’t eat their cereal, someone else will whine about how cold the milk is etc. On those days, the easiest thing to do is just go with the flow, and don’t start hollering. Our experience has found that yelling in the morning just sets the wrong tone for the day. It will not be the end of the world if your child occasionally only eats 2 spoonfuls of porridge. If your child doesn’t want shoes, let him attempt to walk to school barefoot. I doubt he’ll get much further than the front gate before returning for the shoes. Trying to dictate orders at groggy children is futile. Of course we should mention that if you find that these sorts of incidents keep happening, it might be worth considering the reasons behind the behaviour, such as lack of sleep, not eating enough/properly, problems at school etc.
These are just a few ideas that are helping us. I’m sure by the time our children are grown up there will be a much longer list! Do you have any tricks that help morning routines run smoothly? I’d love to hear from you, just leave a comment below!