You think you have your mornings under control. Yes, they’re hectic, but you always manage to get it all done. Then, as you sip the morning coffee that you didn’t have time to grab until you got to work, you realize that your shoes, while each stylish, don’t match. Oh well, you think, it’s just one mistake.
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As you prepare for your after-lunch meetings, your child’s school calls you to ask you if you want her to buy lunch today because her Hello Kitty lunchbox, inexplicably, contains only an unopened can of cat food – leading you to wonder whether FluffBall enjoyed the crust-free PB&J that undoubtedly landed in her bowl.
Maybe you don’t have such a handle on things. And that’s okay.
Mornings can be monstrously difficult. If you’re still struggling to control this hectic part of your day, try out these simple tips.
Tip 1: Get Into Routines Before School Forces The Issue
When your children enjoy summers or extended breaks from school, you will probably let them slip into a more comfortable morning routine. This isn’t a problem, but it will be if you don’t get them back into their routines before the first day.
Start several days before the end of a long break or a week before the end of summer – as the longer they’ve been out of the routine the harder it will be to get them back into it. Force your offspring to follow the routine as stringently as they will have to come the start of school to get them reacclimatized to the demands of school days.
Tip 2: Prep In The Evening
Particularly if you’re the matriarch of a pack of people who loathe mornings, trying to do anything in the early hours is a losing battle. Nearly everything, from picking out clothes to packing lunches, can be done in the evening.
Make it part of your evening routine to tend to these tasks and your mornings will suddenly become substantially easier. Pro Tip – If you REALLY hate mornings, take care of breakfast the night before, too. Purchase small containers of cereal and place them out on the table with bowls and spoons next to them, leaving nothing to do but pour and enjoy.
Tip 3: Chart Your Morning Routine
Do you know all of the things you want your kids to do in the morning and the order in which you want these things done? If not, your tots are probably equally confused. Clear up any misunderstanding by creating a morning procedures chart and posting it prominently.
List everything that must be done before you jet out the door and assign a block of time to each item. Reference the chart when trying to keep your kids moving in the right direction. While they won’t memorize – or even comply – at first, with continued emphasis you can transform them into the morning-routine-mastered troops you want on your side as you wage war on the pre-dawn portion of your day.
Tip 4: Set A Soundtrack
Make your mornings a little merrier with some music. Create a playlist containing songs your children love to groove to. To make this addition to your morning even more useful, use the songs as timers.
Train your kids that they have until “C is for Cookie” ends to get dressed. Then they have until the end of the Kidz Bop version of “What Does the Fox Say?” to brush their teeth. Not only will this keep them moving, but it will allow you to more easily identify if you have fallen behind in your progress, giving you the chance to rectify the situation before the delay becomes too severe.
Tip 5: Reward Success
Your kids will be decidedly more motivated to do their part if they receive a reward of some type. Obviously, you don’t want to over-reward your munchkins for doing what they need to do anyways; however, letting them partake in something they really love if they put their all into getting out the door in the morning is a nice – and simple – gesture.
If your boys love watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example, leave the DVD in the player and switch it on for an episode or two if they get through their morning routine fast enough to allow for a viewing. Not only will this reward delight your child, but it will also give you some uninterrupted time to do what you need to do before you head off to work.