Make Mornings Less Maddening

Mornings can be hard on everyone because they are hectic and rushed, but they don’t have to be. Naturally, it will require planning and proactive thinking.

Routines are KEY to smooth mornings. Strict routines provide the structure needed to make sure everyone does what they’re supposed to do. Some tips that have worked for us are:

1. Wake up time! Preschoolers and up are ready for an alarm clock. Set it to music rather than the alarm, they’ll love waking up to some tunes.

2. Get dressed on your own. We lay clothes out the night before to avoid battles over clothing. Include socks, accessories, etc.

3. Potty and brush teeth. Our kids know not to come to our room or downstairs until they have gotten dressed, brushed teeth, and peed.

4. No TV, especially during breakfast. It slows them down and distracts them. A bowl of cereal will take 3 times as long!

5. Breakfast- Avoid arguments and indecisiveness by doing a weekly menu or sticking with the same 2 choices everyday. At our house, you get cereal or yogurt.

6. Have a designated spot for the many things you need. Our mudroom is where coats, shoes, backpacks, ballet bags, chess supplies, etc all go.

7. Prepare, prepare, prepare! The night before is imperative. Pack lunches the night before, make the kids get all homework, books, etc loaded in to backpacks before they hit the hay. Check your calendar to make sure that any sports bags or extras are with the backpacks.

8. Family Calendar- Especially when you have more than one child in extracurriculars or both parents working. A calendar makes planning easier and is a great central place for everyone to stay in the know.

9. Large families- stagger wake up times. Start with the kids who move at a slower pace. Encourage older kids to help younger ones stick to the routine.

10. Don’t forget to be a role model. If you whine or are always frantic and grumpy, they’ll follow that behavior. Be organized and prepared, stay calm, and have a good attitude.

Enforce the routine at all times. When we get home from school, the kids know to put their backpacks, jackets, shoes, etc in their “spots” so I’m not searching for it later.

How do you keep your family on task in the mornings?

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