The clock read 7:28 a.m. I glanced at my four kids – two were reading books, and the other two were playing together on the floor. I quickly did a mental checklist:
Clothes and shoes on. Check.
Teeth brushed and hair combed. Check.
Lunches and snacks packed. Check.
I could hardly believe my eyes. Every child appeared ready to walk out the door, and we had two minutes to spare. Two minutes! I took advantage of the moment and ran to my bedroom to grab a few things. As I headed back to the living room, I announced, “We are ready to go. Everyone head to the door.”
And that’s when my morning unraveled.
The living room was now empty. I called for them again. My youngest preschooler came strolling casually down the hallway from his bedroom. He managed to strip off his clothes and put on his Cars pajamas; sneakers still on his feet. Pajamas! At the same time, my 5-year-old entered the room, cool and calm. Yet, her hair looked like a hot mess just moments after I finished braiding it. From there, the bathroom door cracked open, and one of my kids announced that he would be in there for a while because nature called.
In a matter of minutes, everything changed. Just when I thought we had it all together, we no longer did. I was only out of the room for two minutes! Can you relate to a morning like this one?
If you’re like most families, weekday mornings can feel rushed and chaotic, especially with young children in the home. We have little bodies roaming our houses with their own temperaments; little hands creating plenty of mishaps. Sometimes, the start of the day can feel overwhelming and down right out of control. As parents, we cannot predict if the baby will have a diaper blowout or if a child’s lunch will take a sudden spill all over the floor. These moments seem to happen right as we are leaving the house, don’t they?
When the unexpected mishap occurs, we have to roll with it. Yet, there are many things within our control that we can do to make mornings easier. A few simple tweaks to your routine could save you valuable time and give everyone a solid start to their day. You may even find yourself with a few extra minutes to allocate towards the unexpected (just don’t run back to your room like I did…haha).
Five Tips for Easier Mornings with Kids
Over the years, I have learned a few things from other moms who are crushing their morning routine. As a mom, I will take all the pointers I can get. Having learned from them, I have developed a routine that makes mornings in my house run smoothly. Below is a countdown to five easy-to-implement tips for an efficient morning with your family.
#5 – Put Clothes Out the Night Before
Three of my four kids currently wear school uniforms. It may sound easy to know what to wear when it comes to uniforms. However, I have to stay on top of my laundry game in order to make sure the right tops and bottoms are ready to go each day. Putting clothes out the night before ensures that everyone knows what they are wearing with no arguments. It also ensures that the proper attire is clean and ready to go. For us, we even lay out socks and shoes. That way, each child can go to their stack in the morning and get dressed on their own. I can’t tell you how many times we have burned precious minutes searching for one sock or a pair of shoes.
#4 – Prepare Lunches and Snacks the Night Before
Along the same lines as #5, anything you can do the night before will give you a few extra minutes in the morning to tie shoes and braid hair. When lunches are prepared the night before, it’s a quick grab-and-go in the morning.
#3 – Create a Calm Atmosphere for Wake-Up
Creating the right atmosphere is easy when it comes to music, especially with songs that contain a positive message. When it’s time to wake our kids, we select a playlist they enjoy and adjust the volume just loud enough to be heard throughout the house. As music permeates the bedrooms, my kids emerge from a deep sleep before I even enter their rooms. This creates a less abrupt “wake up” when I approach them. With the atmosphere being set, what you do next really matters. Keep in mind that getting up early is a difficult task for many people, including kids. Rather than shouting that it’s time to wake up, try waking your children with a loving tone and a gentle touch. They are more likely to begin their day in a composed manner. And we all know that a calmer child translates into a smoother morning.
But what about the child who is not a morning person regardless of your approach. Check out the next suggestion.
#2 – Allow Your Slow-Moving Kids Ample Time to Get Ready
If you have a child who is not an easy riser, start waking him up a few minutes earlier than the others. With my oldest son, he loves to sleep. He’s usually the first one in bed and the last one up. It’s always been that way with him. So for this child, I gently rub his back and begin the wake-up process 20 minutes before he has to actually be on his feet and moving. I check back often and get him stirring within those 20 minutes using suggestions from #3. For my younger daughter, she practically jumps out of bed ready to embrace a new day. However, she is also one who moves to her own beat, which is a laid-back one. That’s her natural rhythm. As a result, she gets woken up first to allow her the few extra minutes that she needs. Every child is wired differently. Rather than getting frustrated with your children, adjust their wake-up time according to their needs.
#1 – Start Your Day Before It’s Time to Start Theirs
Allow yourself time to prepare your heart and mind for the new day ahead. Be determined to get out of bed before the morning rush begins. I was never much of a morning person. Yet, I have quickly learned the value of getting up earlier. I am a better mom because of it. For me personally, I like to spend this time reading my Bible, journaling, and talking with God. Spending time in God’s presence is the most peaceful moment of my day. He renews my strength and prepares me for the day ahead. I can’t think of a better way to start my day, even when I’m tired. It’s not always easy to get up early, but it’s definitely worth it.
There you have it. Five simple strategies that you can implement today to make your mornings run more efficiently. I hope this list contributes to a smoother start to your family’s day.
Do you have additional pointers that have worked well for your family? Share them below.
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