If no matter what time you get up, you still manage to get your kids to school late, this post is for you. In spite of living two short blocks from our son’s school with a starting bell at 8:50 am, his fall report card showed three days late to school. I thought this was a gift and was surprised it wasn’t more like 7 or 8 reflecting on the hectic nature of our mornings, and realized something had to change.
You know the drill. The dreaded task of packing lunches. Finding something the 4 year old will dare to wear. Reminding the 8 year old 10+ times to pack his backpack. I searched my soul to figure out how to turn the hectic mornings into a calm state and was led to the a-ha moment of the night before. This strategy has turned morning multi-tasking into quality, peaceful time with my kids.
1 – Prep for packed lunch. Following a simple checklist, the menu can write itself. My checklist includes fresh crudité, fruit, a main entrée with protein, a crunchy dry snack, a garnish snack, and water. Click here for lunch ideas. The only thing left for the morning is something hot like soup that needs heating and putting in a thermos; and, even that can be prepped in a bowl ready for the microwave.
2 – Prep breakfast. Whether you cook an omelet with veggies, serve up whole grain cereal or open up a yogurt, you can plan and prep so that pulling things out of the fridge is easy and shave off 5 to 10 minutes from the morning routine while rerouting your attention from asking “What do you want for breakfast?” to “What are you guys doing at school today?”
3 – Help your kids pick out their clothes and fully pack their back packs. If selecting an outfit for your child includes a 45 minute conversation of why you can’t wear short sleeves on a winter day, try making a game out of choosing an outfit. The night before, you will not be rushed and there will be less stress in your discussion leading to more cooperation. One game I play with my daughter when she must wear pants, is that she closes her eyes while I put them on her so she can’t see them. Once they are on, she moves on to the next thought in her head and is dressed! One month, my son decided to sleep in what he was going to wear the next day. I went with it and he was ready really fast!
4 – Pick out your own clothes. I found that I was choosing my own clothes while reviewing my calendar to see what meetings I had that day while yelling for my kids to brush their teeth. By choosing my clothes the night before I saved mental space and time to quickly dress and help them.
5 – Set an alarm for the kids. Are you finding yourself waking up your kiddos at 7:45 am only for them to meet the day, with “I’m not ready to get up.” Set a rather loud alarm clock for them and set it far from their beds so they have to get up to turn it off.
6 – Get your children to help. Craft a routine that includes their responsibilities getting ready and reward them when they do a good job. As they get older, they are capable of more and by you garnering their participation, you are raising your kids to be independent, self-caring individuals.
When you aren’t harried with multi-tasking, you are present. By taking advantage of ‘the night before’, you transform the morning into quality time. Happy morning!