Some mornings are a breeze in getting my crew out the door and on our way to school and our other activities. Other mornings, though, are a fight from the second their little eyes open until we all get to our destination. What makes those great mornings so great? Here are a few things I’ve observed that help us get off to a great start (even on a Monday!).
1. Be ready yourself. If I’m not ready by the time the kids get up, chances are they are going to drag around during our finite time at the house. By having myself put together, dressed, and otherwise good to walk out the door, I’m not distracted with my own routine while trying to get them through theirs. All of my attention can be focused on their needs.
2. Start off the day with a big bite. My kids are eaters, but my older son needs to eat the.minute.his.feet.hit.the.ground! My younger son, though, would rather wait about 20 minutes to wake up before chewing on some toast and peanut butter. No matter when they eat, though, breakfast is important enough to make time for it in the morning. Running out the door with a pop tart in one hand and a juice box in another may be better than having nothing at all, but it isn’t better by much. Try to make time to have a bowl of nutritious cereal, a protein-filled meal, or at least something filling with less sugar to start the day off right.
3. Allow at least 10 minutes for those “other” things that crop up. How many times have I heard, “I can’t find my shoes!” or “Have you seen my library book?” or even “Don’t leave – I have to go to the bathroom!” I have long-since learned that cushioning our morning routine with a few extra minutes allows for those last-minute stressors that arise.
4. Do some prep work the night before. Have the backpack ready to go at by the door. Lay out the clothes for in the morning to save time choosing something to wear. And, make sure everyone is in bed on time. Getting a good night’s sleep can do wonders the next day!
5. Be a list-maker. When my older son was in preschool and not able to read yet, we posted a list on the bathroom mirror – a list of pictures of his morning routine. We drew four or five activities that he needed to do each morning and posted it where he would easily see it. After practicing for about a week, he was highly proficient at following his list to get ready – everything from dressing to brushing teeth to making his bed.
6. Take a deep breath. Even the best-laid plans will fall by the wayside every now and then. Don’t be so rigorous in your routine that you can’t allow for a day that simply doesn’t go as planned. The important thing is to not let those little things that get in the way each morning become a part of the routine. Make those little things the exception, not the rule.