The hectic morning routine that most parents are faced with each morning is nothing if not chaotic and stressful. Right now, at the start of a new school year or daycare year parents are trying to get back into the swing of things. Some of us are trying to find new ways to make morning routines work - if I can get my kids on the bus with no one having cried life is good!
I have read touching, beautiful articles about letting your child take their time, and explore their world even if that means stopping on their way to the car to inspect an ant hill. How not to rush them and create stress in their lives when it’s not necessary, how we should all stop and smell the roses more. How allowing them to work at their own pace creates a happier, healthier child. I’m all for relaxing and enjoying the little things in life but sometimes I have a hard time figuring out how to do this and get them where they need to be on time, you know, like school (or getting to work on time)! How do I ignore the little voice in my head saying “we’re going to be late!”?
I certainly feel like the grumbling, nagging mom on school mornings. “Get dressed, pack our bag, put your socks on!” are sentences heard regularly in my home on weekdays. It often seems like I’m a broken record stuck on repeat. I wonder to myself and sometimes out loud, why do I have to repeat this each and every morning? I do my best to get prepared the night before (lunches are made, backpacks packed, outfits picked out) but even so, mornings are chaotic and so absolutely dependent on moods. I remind myself of those beautiful written words I’ve read, which really only serves to make me feel guilty about how often I rush my children out the door, nag them until they’re grumpy and someone is undoubtedly in tears and then try and apologize and make everyone feel better at the bus stop. Sigh, there’s got to be an easier way! I’ve done some researching on making hectic mornings easier. I’m willing to try anything in our routine, so in case you’re feeling desperate alongside me, take a look at some of these suggestions:
- 1) Get them moving, do a quick stretching routine when they wake up to get them started. You could probably use it too, and if nothing else it may make everyone smile.
- 2) Turn on some tunes, relaxing music, soothing music, loud dance music, the chicken dance, the macarana, whatever it takes to change the mood in the morning.
- 3) Set a timer: Use an egg timer or a sand timer so that kids can actually see how much time is left to do the task you’ve asked of them., ie. you need to be dressed and at the table by the time the timer beeps.
- 4) Squash sibling rivalry: Ok I love this one; if a fight erupts (as it almost always does) try and solve the problem, ie “your sister took your spot? Would you like my spot?” Leave a note to discuss it after school so that it doesn’t go unresolved, leaving someone feeling slighted. Just table it to discuss when there’s more time.
- 5) Have a routine etched out and keep it consistent.
- 6) Try to limit screen time as it often becomes a war of “just five more minutes” which helps contribute to lateness.
- 7) Highlight the positives, praise good behavior and fulfilling routines as you’ve asked.
- 8) Have a do over – when moods are terrible and arguing is at an all time high, just start over. Good morning! It’s Thursday! How did you sleep! Be silly and “rewind” by twirling around to signify everyone’s starting over. Focus on something happening that evening or later in the week.
- 9) Give hugs, when tears appear or smiles disappear sometimes a hug can work like magic – not just for them, but for you too.
- 10) Say yes, find something to say yes to. Pick something that really doesn’t affect much, but helps keep the peace and make your child happy “sure you can wear that dress, those pants and those shorts today”.
- 11) There’s always tomorrow. When a morning goes awry, take a deep breath after drop off and remind yourself that there is tomorrow. You can try to remember some of these tips or find solutions to problems that are happening in your morning routine to help smooth it out.
The truth is, these tips might help us argue less in the mornings and get out the door quicker and may not. I do try and have a more relaxed life on weekends so that I’m not rushing them 7 days a week – but it’s a work in progress. I’m going to leave this list on the fridge as a reminder when things are rough.
I’m still working on figuring out how to possibly live a life where I’m not ushering my kids out the door and nagging them to death. If I come up with any great solutions I’ll be sure to share them. Until then, if you have a tip to share with others about morning routines share it with us on our Facebook page, just find The Parents’ Voice Shawville and send us a message, we’d love to share your words of wisdom with everyone.
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