I am not sure if it is just me, but the only way I can see that I could ever possibly have a stress free morning routine is not to have any other living being depend on me! Bacon, eggs, strong coffee, the newspaper would be just perfect, but that horse has bolted. Instead, if you are like me, mornings can be some new kind of hell. Here are a few tips that have helped ease my pain.
It feels ridiculous to write the word “routine,” as we all have a sort of vague plan, whether we recognize it or not, but this does not always work.
Why not try a visual routine board, where you have pictures of what is required to happen each morning, and in what order. As the kids grow older, it becomes a written list. This saves me from having to repeat myself; instead, I just direct them to the list. It gives them a clear focus. If you want to get really serious, use a timer for each child and get them to record their time. Most kids love a bit of competition, even if it is to beat their own last time.
I do wonder how kids can get dressed for a day at an adventure park in like 3 seconds flat, but after half an hour of nagging, still cannot get out of their pajamas on school days! I am not an organized mama who lays clothes out each night. While I have the best intentions, I know my limitations. I can, however, manage to organize one drawer in each of my kids’ rooms that is devoted to school clothes. While this sounds ridiculous, it actually works as ANYTHING to do with school clothes gets thrown in there. If you want to take it further and you have the room, I have a friend who has devoted a whole room to school stuff to save her time and more importantly her sanity!
Getting kids out the door on time is stressful. I have a big clock that is very visible. Underneath, there is a picture of the clock face showing the time that they need to leave the house. This keeps them on time, while reinforcing the concept of time. As my kids grew older, the game plan needed to change.
Getting my daughter out of the house on time was impossible. After battling with threats, I very calmly told her one day that we were leaving at a given time and if she wasn’t ready, we were going without her. Her face was priceless when I stuck to my guns and left without her. I was not working that day so I was able to drop off my son and go back to talk her through the importance of sticking to deadlines. Once calm was restored, I took her to school, and believe me, it did not happen again! It should be noted that she was of an age where I could safely leave her.
There are no magic fixes for the witching hour in the morning, but a plan and a bit of structure can hustle things along and at least keep your sanity somewhat in check. Good luck and let me know how you get on!