Back to school is an exciting time for all! A good friend said it best on her Facebook page, “First day of school! Yay! Parents be popping champs everywhere”. The idea of champagne sounds amazing but a fancy coffee (meaning not from my Keurig) and a quiet morning after a successful send off is as good of a celebration as any in my book! I’ll cash in on the mimosa over a ladies brunch on the weekend. The truth of the matter is though, the first week or two of Back to School is often complete mayhem in the mornings. Getting out the door on time is a struggle and we all seem to become a hot mess. Congrats to those mom’s who nail it on the first day, but this is just not our family. It takes a few practice runs to get out of the lazy summer morning habit and back on track with a more timely regimen. Routine! Routine! Routine! You’ve heard it before, but today’s post is a friendly reminder about how to de-stress your morning by implementing a solid routine. We seem to have things back on track and I’ve finally had my fancy coffee and quiet breakfast celebration. Below are a few of my favorite tips to help you with the morning struggle.
- Do it the night before – This is by far the most important tip to remember and implement. Ask yourself, “What can be done the night before to save time in the morning?” When you really stop to think about it, you realize so much can be done the night before. Once you create this habit, your morning will be much calmer and organized. Pack lunches, lay out clothing, have homework or school papers signed and in school bags, tidy up the house, do all dishes, and bathe the kids the night before. Don’t forget about YOU! Pick out your clothing, shower and do your hair the night before (if you can). The less you have to do for yourself, the more you can be free to deal with any hiccups in your morning routine.
- Mom get up 15 minutes earlier – This was hard for me because my son likes to climb in my bed early in the morning to cuddle (and often falls back asleep in my arms). Like many mom’s I cherish this time SO MUCH! I would let it last as long as possible because I’m dreading the day he stops this morning ritual and becomes too old to want mommy cuddles. I should probably prepare my husband for a complete meltdown when this unavoidable moment happens, but let’s get back to my point. The problem with this situation, is that I’d be scrambling to get out the door because I laid in bed with my son too long, and everyone paid the price. Lesson quickly learned/remembered–> Summer is over, mommy! I still cuddle with my son, but I make sure that I’m in charge of the wake up time. If he is still sleeping, I slip out 15 minutes earlier to make my coffee and start breakfast. The key is to stay ahead of the morning schedule.
- Teach children to DIY – Encourage your children to wake up and immediately dress themselves in the clothing that you conveniently laid out the night before. If they like to choose their clothing, then let them pick an outfit the night before. Put cereal and bowls accessible so that they want to help get breakfast ready. How many times have you heard, “I can’t find my shoe(s)!” Have your children put their shoes by the door the night before so that you don’t waste 5 minutes searching for the missing shoe(s)! Create a chart listing out the morning routine, post it on the refrigerator and encourage them to do as much of the list they can, all on their own.
- Reward when ready – This relates to #3. If they are ready on time or earlier, then praise them for doing much of it themselves and consider using a reward system. Maybe they get to watch 5 minutes of a cartoon, choose dessert that night, or read an extra chapter of Harry Potter. These rewards work great in our house. My personal favorite is the cartoon because it gives me a few quiet minutes to finish up anything for myself, and it keeps them from wrecking havoc on the house that I worked so hard to tidy up the night before. A reward system encourages children to repeat a positive behavior which in turn will create good habits. A calm and organized morning is definitely a good habit to create!
- Manage bedtime – During the summer months kids are often up later than during the school year. It takes a little time to readjust from those late nights, but focus on getting them back in bed at the same time every night. It’s easy to forget how much the bedtime routine impacts the morning routine, until you start struggling with a grumpy over-tired kid in the morning. Eat dinner earlier, read earlier, eliminate any technology or TV before bed, and make their bedrooms as dark as possible if the sun hasn’t set yet. I always love when the time changes and we “Fall Back” because bedtime becomes much easier. BTW, the time change happens November 6th of this year.
Mornings set the tone for the day so implementing these simple tips/reminders can help make your mornings happy, healthy, and focused! Happy Back to School all!