The best way to start your day is in a calm and quiet manner. With 3 kids and being at work by 8, this is not always possible. But I’ve worked out that a basic morning routine can minimize stress and upset. There is nothing worse than leaving the house screaming at my children and saying good bye in a fight. I spend the whole day with a knot in my stomach and feel awful. And so do my kids.
Mornings can be a busy time in most houses. No matter what age your children are it can be frustrating.
While no house works perfectly, here are some tips to set your day off to the right start.
If you can achieve some of these, 4 out of 7 days in a week, you are doing well.
1. ORGANISE THE NIGHT BEFORE
– For preschoolers or school age children try to have all bags packed the night before. Make sure that essentials like hats and a change of clothes are in the bag. Any extra curricular bags should be ready too.
– Make school lunches the night before and leave in the fridge
– Set out clothes and uniforms ready for the next day. This includes underwear and jumpers. This avoids running around looking for things last minute in
2. WAKE BEFORE THE KIDS
If possible set your alarm to wake 20-30 minutes before your kids. This gives you time for a quiet coffee or tea and to organise your thoughts and day before the chaos starts. Best to try get dressed and ready before waking the kids.
You may even have time to get breakfast started as the kids are getting dressed. Young toddlers and preschoolers will need help to get dressed so easy breakfast is best. Cut up fruit, toast with vegemite or peanut butter or weetbix are easy and quick options.
3. ROUTINE CHARTS
These will look different for all families but they do assist with making sure all tasks are complete.
Most children are better at visual cues , so looking at a chart is easier than listening to what to do.
Independence is instilled when children can look at the list and do the next task independently.
Lists can include :
- Brushing teeth
- Combing hair
- Washing face
- Getting dressed
- Eating Breakfast
- Putting shoes on
- Grab backpack/lunchbox
Head out the door
4. KEEP ROUTINES THE SAME
Try and make sure the routine is consistent during the week. That way everyone knows what is expected. Things may change on weekends or in the holidays.
TV or listening to a story should be a reward if all tasks are complete before you leave. In my view TV should NOT be part of the morning routine.
6. REMAIN CALM
Calm looks different to each person. Here are some ideas to help you stay calm in the mornings.
For some it means asking hubby to stay and help out while everyone gets ready or get some paid help for a few hours to assist you.
To be calm you may need to forget about having the perfect house and focus on getting everyone ready and out rather than on the presentation of the home.
(we cannot do it all every day)
Calm may only come if you slow down. There is no rush to get your kid to kindy and if you take it slower it is less stressful. Unfortunately this cannot apply to school age children, so give yourself enough TIME to get ready and out the house.
Ashne Grill is available for parent consultations to assist with parenting skills. She covers topics that include setting up family routines, sibling issues, behavior management, developmental milestones, anxiety and separation issues. Sessions are goal orientated and help develop strategies. 0410475587