Days of lazy mornings are dwindling and a reader inquires just how to make the first hours of the day go a little (okay, a lot) smoother.
Mommawanna asks "I am dreading back-to-school, mainly because I hate our mornings. It seems getting everyone - including myself - out of the door is an epic battle. We are late, tempers get high, something doesn't work. I need help figuring this out now! Help!"
People fall into two categories: morning people and non-morning people. I am on Team Morning Person. I wake up fairly quickly (with java clutched in hand). However, even as a life-long good waker-upper, some mornings are just plain rough. I think the key here is organization and planning. Now, that always isn't possible, but trying to get a good system in place just may be a way to get the day going on a good, smiley foot (can feet smile?). Here are some hints:
-- Get up before your kids. Yes, I know, sleep is precious, but getting up even 20 minutes can allow you to ease into the day, fix that tea or cup of coffee, shower, whatever you need to make the morning go a little faster without interruption.
-- Give the kids control. When you are kids are old enough (about 4 or 5) they can do many things: dress themselves, pour their own cereal, wake up and so on. Put a checklist of what each kid is responsible for, so they can have reminders of their morning tasks.
-- Be organized. Part of what will help the above idea work is if your home is organized. Are the kids' closets full of clothes that they can reach and are seasonally appropriate? Is there a set place for backpacks and gear? Make sure your home works for you and not against you (stay tuned for more on this next week we will have a whole post on corralling that backpack!)
-- Turn on some tunes. Having some fun, cheery music on while you begin the day can affect everyone's mood. Sometimes, dancing in the kitchen as you eat breakfast can get the kid moving faster and paying more attention to what needs to be done before the bus arrives.
-- Stock up on essentials. It is usually those unexpected, last minute, "I forgot I need graph paper for math class!" moments that throw off a good morning. Have two of the school t-shirts, two leotards, just in case one is dirty. Have a list of where you go for pre-made pastries in case you were supposed to bring the PTA breakfast meeting but totally forgot. Have glue and labels and notebooks and other supplies on a certain area, ready to go. May not avoid all of those emergencies, but some of them at least.
What is yout best tip to make mornings flow a little smoother?
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside