With school back in full swing, many of us are back in that familiar mode of getting kids out the door in the morning. Even if you don’t have school age kids, you may have to get your children out the door for daycare or appointments or other commitments. If you are looking for a way to help improve your morning routine and reduce some of the morning stress, this post is for you! You all know I am a stickler for routines and the mornings are no different. I really feel like our mornings with the kids set the tone for the day – and I think we would all agree that we would much rather send the kids (and me!) out the door following a low stress, happy morning than a frantic, frustrating morning!
Following these tips have always helped me reduce the amount of stress in the mornings. And while we do have our crazy mornings, majority of them run pretty darn smoothly.
1. Set a routine – Kids (and adults) find stability and comfort in routine. Think of your usual morning…you tend to perform tasks in a certain order – brush teeth, make-up, coffee, etc. This routine helps you not only remember what still needs to be done, but also help you complete it in a timely order. Kids are no different. Consistently performing the same tasks each morning help them learn what is expected and what is next – giving them both predictability and stability. This means less chance for melt downs = awesome.
2. Prepare night before – This is KEY. Preparing for the next morning limits the amount of morning hustle and reduces your chance of forgetting something. This is applicable for infant all the way through adulthood. I do EVERYTHING the night before including: pack lunches, lay out clothes (including my own), pack bags, lay out anything extra that needs to go to school/daycare/work, etc.
3. Prepare night before – That’s right. This one gets mentioned twice because it is so important. Lay out clothing the night before – this is a big one as kids get older. I started doing this when the babies were infants. This would always help Aaron in the morning not have to figure out outfits on the days I worked. With the older kids, I find that with it laid out, they are less likely to fight me on what they are wearing. Now there are definitely days I don’t lay out their clothes the night before, but I am sure to any time we need to get up and out the door in the morning.
4. Have a staging area – A staging area is a place by your door where you will lay everything out that needs to leave the house in the morning. Depending on the day, for us, this may consist of backpacks, supplies to daycare, any misc items that need to be brought along for the day. All of this is placed in a staging area (our bench). I do not place anything else in this area – so anything that is on the bench means it must go somewhere in the morning. As I am rushing out the door, a quick glance at the bench lets me know everything was grabbed.
5. Discuss next day’s plans as a family – Discussing tomorrow’s plans as a family helps ensure everyone is on the same page and informed of all that is going on the next day. We usually do this during dinner time. We discuss what day tomorrow is, where everyone will be, and what extra activities we may have. This is a great time to discuss what is for lunch at school tomorrow so you can plan on packing a lunch if you need to (remember, prepare the night before!). Nothing is more likely to throw my kids for a loop than springing on them at 8am surprise plans for the day. I also find that it is important for Aaron to hear all we will be doing the next day while he is at work.
6. Allow enough time: This one seems obvious, but it always seems we spend the last 5 minutes of our morning rushing. I try my hardest to wake up those 5 minutes earlier to give us a little more time. Those mornings that we have adequate time are filled with a lot more conversation and love and less frantic yelling to put their freaking shoes on!!What helps your family get out the door in the morning? Thanks for stopping by!