Are you overwhelmed by the monotony and stress of the morning and evening routines with your children? Does it always end with you losing your cool however hard you try? As mumpreneurs with children we need to get out of the house by a certain time each morning. It’s all very well when all the parenting books and podcasts tell us to be patient with our children, but it’s easier said than done when our children have no sense of urgency in the mornings or you are playing “Hunt the lost school shoe” at the very last minute. Don’t worry, I have been negotiating childminders’ and school runs with babies and young children ever since 2005. I’ve made all the mistakes in the book along the way and I want to share with you what I have learnt today.
Established morning routine – It is vital that you have an established morning routine so that you and your children are familiar with what you need to do to get ready every morning and the order in which everything needs to be done. We humans are creatures of habit so this unchanging (or rarely changing) routine is an essential foundation for calm, low-stress mornings. To get more cooperation from your children, why not let them share their views on the order they want to get things done in the morning within reason.
Get up earlier – Sorry, all you night owls out there, but research really has proven the old adage that “the early bird catches the worm”. Pretty much whatever time you get up in the morning, you could probably get up earlier to have a less rushed start to the day and have more time for yourself and/or your children. Think what you could achieve in an extra half an hour or even a full hour. You could maybe get a short piece of homework out of the way. My primary school-aged sons have a computer app for practicing their multiplication tables and spellings and these can be quick and easy tasks to do in the morning or maybe a spot of reading aloud if your children are primary school age. Alternatively, you could spend quality time with your children by playing a game with them or just chatting in general. Focusing on you, you could also get some meditation done in the early morning, do a batch of baking or even spend some time on skin care or putting on some make-up, even minimal make-up. It is amazing how these small acts of self-care can really boost our mood and our confidence. If you know you will find getting up half an hour or a full hour earlier too much of a stretch all at once, why not start getting up earlier in five or ten minute stages over the course of a week or two. To sweeten the deal, especially when it is already so dark in the mornings here in the Northern hemisphere at present, why not treat yourself to your favourite healthy breakfast with your favourite beverage? Or use your favourite shower gel and toiletries in your morning personal care routine. It is amazing how these small acts of self-care can really boost our mood and our confidence.
Get organised – It goes without saying, but you will feel so much more relaxed and unhurried in the mornings if you get as much ready as possible the night before. Make sure the children’s school clothes are laid out for them. (Depending on their ages, they may be able to do this themselves). Also, make sure they have their school bags packed the night before and also pack up any lunches that may be required the night before. Ensure that all school shoes, coats, toothbrushes and hairbrushes, etc. are all in a place where they can easily be found. Also keep your calendar / schedule / diary up to date with all of your children’s activities inside and outside of school and check it on a regular, if not daily, basis. You really do not want to forget about the fancy dress day the school is holding or the fact that the school are going on a day trip and children need to be dressed in “home clothes” on a particular day. Massive mummy guilt trigger!
Get your children’s cooperation – Naturally, it is vital to get your children’s cooperation in all of this. As I mentioned above, it is helpful if your children can have a say in the order they want to get things done. It is helpful to emphasise to your children that you all need to pull together and work as a team to ensure that everyone gets out of the door on time. With the extra time created by you getting up earlier, you may be able to get your children to help out with one or two small and light household tasks in the morning. Or you might even have the time to make your children a favourite, nourishing and healthy breakfast.
TV and tech – Personally, I would advise making TV and tech off limits in the mornings. You may be able to get your children to do computer- or IPad-based homework if you can rely on them to get off their gadgets straight afterwards, rather than wanting to play games, etc. If you do let them have access to TV and tech in the mornings, I would only let them have access once they are completely ready for preschool / school and all chores have been done.
This blog post has just been an introduction to managing the morning routine. Sadly none of these tips are absolutely fail-safe as, no matter how organized you are, things do not always go like clockwork when you add young children to the mix. But it most certainly helps for you to be organised.
If you want more morning routine tips to make your life easier and also a free printable illustrating all of the common tasks children need to complete in the morning routine, sign up to my list. You will be sent a series of three value-packed checklists to help you master the work-life balance / juggle / integration (take your pick!).
In next week’s blog post, I will be showing you how to master the evening routine with young children.
Over to you
What are your favourite morning routine tips? Please feel free to share them in the “Comments” section below.
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