Troubleshooting Hectic Mornings Isn’t as Hard as You Think
Mornings seem to be an especially stressful time for a lot of parents. Parents and children are tired, but running on a tight schedule, with little room for error. Perhaps because of this, many parents delegate large portions of the kids’ morning routine to a nanny or other caretaker. While this certainly works for some families, having a parent be in charge in the morning has its advantages.
Mornings are a good time to run through the day’s schedule with children, remind them of pick up timings and classes. Parents can be sure children are eating a proper breakfast, gauge the children’s mood and how they slept, and make sure they brushed their teeth properly. But really, just being around in the morning (and not shrieking “You’ll miss the bus!” twenty times in a row), can be a great way to show kids that you care, and that they are important to you.
I’ve drawn upon my own experience, and a few friends’ experiences, to create some tips for warding off those morning disasters, so you can be present in the mornings without being frazzled.
Keep a schedule.
I think this normally just happens on its own (wake up, use loo, eat breakfast, brush teeth), but with multiple children a set schedule can save a lot of chaos. Also, knowing when each item needs to be completed – and sharing that with the child – can help kids begin to time-manage on their own. For younger children, a digital clock can be helpful. “By 7:50 you need to have finished your milk and have your shoes on, otherwise you will miss the bus.”
Create a reward.
I’ve found that rewards take the pressure off of parents. Either the reward was earned, or it wasn’t. A friend of mine has a jar filled with the smallest individually wrapped Gems packages available. Every day her three girls are ready to go on time to the bus with no fussing, they get one of those packages (only 3 Gems!) in their break box along with their healthy snack. Food rewards don’t work for everyone, though. I have built into our schedule ten minutes of IPad time before the bus. That way I can say to my daughter, “if you don’t finish your milk fast, you won’t get your IPad time before the bus comes.”
Plan it out the night before.
So much stress is avoided when the menu for breakfast, the snack for the break box, and the correct uniform for the next day is decided upon and prepped the night before. This can also help children become more independent. “Your clothing is laid out, please wear it.” “The cereal you asked for is out, pour it and add milk.” With multiple children, each child can choose breakfast on an assigned day.
Play some music!
More than anything, turning on some music seems to iron out the crankiness of the morning and help everyone to relax. Have a little dance party in the kitchen while pouring cereal! Sing along during breakfast! Adding a bit of fun to the morning can help start everyone’s day a bit more cheerfully.