As kids head back to school and schedules are changing, the morning rush is a standard in most homes once again, unfortunately. Luckily, there are almost endless ideas for solutions to any form of morning madness out there. Here are five of my favorites:
1) Pick out clothes the night before. My little diva could spend hours picking out her clothes and never get out of her closet, let alone the front door, on time, if I let her. Simple solution: take a few minutes at bedtime to check the weather for the next day and pick out an outfit that she is happy with and will be comfortable in. If it's going to rain, have your kids help you dig out their rain boots, coats and umbrellas and put them right by the front door so you don't need to go searching all over at the last minute for those types of things either.
2) Discuss and plan school lunch and snack ideas the day before, at dinner time, and write these down on a "lunch menu board" in your kitchen, as a clear reminder. Set out kids lunch boxes and pack any non-perishables the night before, like crackers, napkins, utensils, dried fruit or granola bars, etc. They can help with this too. (I also like to setup the coffee machine, for my husband and me, so there is just one more thing neither of us have to rush to do when we are waking up and getting going for the day).
3) Set just a few basic morning rules, and write them down, like "NO changing your outfit or lunch choices in the morning." Explain that decisions are always made best when people are not rushed, and that's why you are helping your kids plan ahead, and plan calmly, how they want their school day to go.
4) Give your kids a very simple, clear morning routine to follow. Keep it simple enough that even little ones can memorize the plan. It could be something like this: "Wake up, get dressed, eat, wash up, put shoes and backpack on, get to bus." You can try making up a song or a dance to the routine to make it fun to remember. Write it down too, so you can help remind them gently what their next steps are. It helps to REWARD each step successfully accomplished, without tantrums or delays or tears, at least for the first few weeks or month you are putting the plan into place. You can put a tiny treat in their bag as they are putting on their shoes, if they are doing that properly. Or promise them a yummy surprise when they come home, to look forward to; or put a sticker on their lunchbox when they are eating breakfast well. Make them eager to follow the routine, and you'll make your own life easier.
5) Pick morning music to move them along and set a good mood. Even if there's not much time to sit down and enjoy a calm breakfast together, soft background music can really set a calm, happy mood in your home as you all bustle about your busy routines and begin your day. We like classical music, or jazz, or some easygoing rock and roll.
What are your favorite family morning madness solutions?