Some mornings – maybe many mornings – can start off feeling like a race to the finish line when you have young children. Everyone is harried, stressed, irritable, pressured… and ready to fall apart at any moment.
No one likes to begin the day with a big dose of stress hormones.
Imagine starting off more days where there are smiles and good feelings.
Here are some ideas to help you create a more peaceful morning routine.
Prep everything possible the night before, and put it on a “Launch Pad” near the exit door. This includes papers, backpacks, permission slips, shoes, coats, gloves, etc. Some things can even go in the car the night before.
Have the table set for breakfast right after dinner. Get advice and assistance from the children. Which cereals do they want out? (Keep them on a low shelf so they can reach them.)
Have milk in a container small enough for them to pour. If they need pouring lessons, use another time to master that skill.
Help them choose their clothes the night before and set them out. Giving simple choices such as “Blue jeans or red pants?” empowers them and gives them ownership of the process.
Be sure the routine is clear. Younger children do well with picture check lists. As children get older, they might want to experiment with changing the order of things. Let them try it. As long as they are ready to go on time, it will work!
t Battles getting your preschooler dressed in the morning? You can allow them to sleep in their clothes. Or let their teacher know that they may be arriving in their PJs one day, and have a set of clothes set aside for them to change in at school.
Give yourself more time. Focus on yourself and choose to be cheerful. Set a “snuggle alarm” instead of a “snooze alarm” with your child. Creating a warm connection first thing is a great way to start off the day on the right foot.
Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. Children need 8-12 hours, and you need at least 6-8 hours to be at your best. Look for ways to prioritize time in the evenings, and be prepared to trim off any excesses like TV, etc.
If it’s a show you can’t miss, DVR it.
Remember, the most important thing is to stay calm, upbeat and connected to your child.
When things go awry, take a deep breath, smile and say, “Let’s try that again!”