4 Essential Steps to a Happier Morning!
The particular hour between 7:00am and 8:00am feels like a lifetime every morning. This hour is the most crucial and delicate part of the entire household’s day. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. It’s a process that seems to be pretty straightforward but somehow it remains chaotic and suddenly you’re running to school midday to drop of your child’s homework that was left unnoticed on the kitchen counter. And we all try, really hard, to have everything ready the night before but it is not a perfect world and things simply happen. Life happens, and its perfectly normal and okay. After many conversations with parents who are struggling with this issue, especially today as most kids are still on summer time and many have not been to school in over a year due to the pandemic, I’ve compiled a list of 4 steps and strategies that help streamline the morning routine.
- STEP ONE: Purchase or make your own large-sized visual calendar. This first step is the most essential in ensuring that all activities, appointments, birthdays, and any other reminders are visible to all family members. Make it a fun calendar with pictures and icons that kids can understand even if they can’t read yet. We used stickers for sports activities like basketball and gymnastics. Kids can visualize what their day looks like and get more comfortable around it which makes life easier and minimizes tantrums. Make sure the calendar is hung in a place where everyone can see it clearly and if possible somewhere close to the main door so any last minute reminders are seen before leaving the house.
- STEP TWO: Using the calendar mentioned above, make sure all backpacks are packed the night before. This frees up more time in the morning and limits chaotic last-minute searches for items. A backpack that has all the essentials makes it easier for everyone to get out the door on time. Homework, books, stationary and stationary should be on top of the list and packed and ready. If your children are old enough to pack their own bags, involve them in the process and remind them of what they have the next day so they pack everything they need. Children sleep better when they feel that everything is under control and they will not miss anything the next day. For younger children, taking a few minutes the night before to pack their bags means you are also less stressed and content that they have everything they need such as sports uniforms, activity supplies…etc.
- STEP THREE: Lay out all outfits the night before. Kids are very picky with their clothes and the morning dig into the laundry hamper to re-use their favorite outfit ruins the day for everyone. Older kids should pick out their outfits and shoes (and socks) the night before and place them on a hook in the bedroom or bathroom. Same process should be done for younger kids and make sure they approve the outfits so no tantrums take place. Check the weather forecast the night before so you know what the kids needs to wear. Having their clothes ready saves ample time in the morning and reduces stress for both kids and parents.
- STEP FOUR: Encourage your kids to go to bed early so they are getting enough sleep and don’t wake up tired. Kids need to be well rested and wake up naturally with the right amount of energy to start and go on about their day. Tired kids are cranky and try their best not to leave the house on time and always end up forgetting things at home. No one wants that kind of energy in the morning! Basic things like sleeping early and having a healthy breakfast and limiting screen time (especially in the morning) all help create a calm and smooth morning for the entire family. Try to set an example by organizing yourself as well the night before so you can have enough time to eat breakfast together without distractions.
Always keep in mind that everyone’s family life is different and what works for one family doesn’t necessarily work for others. There is no solution that fits everybody and we must always trust our instincts and work around what is best for our family and our lifestyle. A rigid routine might not work for everybody but any sense of predictability and stability in our children’s lives helps them feel relaxed and secure which positively affects their overall attitude towards their day. These steps are helpful tips that work for some people, so give them a try and see if they work for your family.
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