It's hard to recover from a rough morning. I don't know about you, but when my morning feels rushed, the whole day seems to be off.
It's hard enough to be disciplined about your morning without kids. Add children to the mix, and you've got a real challenge.
It's easy to think you're alone in this challenge, but you're not. All of us with school-aged children struggle with the morning routine.
No matter how hard we work, there'll always be occasional hectic mornings. The goal, however, is to make those mornings the exception and not the rule.
Here are a few tips that may help you regain control of your mornings.1
1. Create a Pre-Sleep Routine
Preparing for the morning starts the night before. Obviously, it helps to get your kids (and yourself) down at a reasonable, consistent time.
We often chase away quality sleep with a few basic poor habits. First, don't eat late. If your body is still digesting food while you're trying to sleep, your sleep quality will suffer and you may even have more trouble falling asleep.
Second, limit screen time starting an hour or so before you head to bed. If you or your kids simply must use a device with a screen at night, enable a blue light suppressor.2 Studies show that blue light (the light emitted by screens) may compromise our sleep quality.
Plan a time when the whole family shuts off their devices (including the TV). Place smaller items in a common area or a communal drawer. As long as you're consistent, this will consistently free up your evenings.
Third, prepare for the morning by laying out clothes and getting book bags ready. Set out the breakfast cereal, bowls, and spoons. Include your kids in this process by giving them individual roles.
Finally, consider a relaxing routine before bed like reading. Encourage your kids to color or play quietly to induce sleepiness.
A calm atmosphere leading up to bedtime can drastically improve both the speed at which your kids fall asleep and the quality of sleep they receive.
2. No Media
I find that the biggest distraction in our morning is technology. My kids are staring like zombies into the TV instead of getting dressed. I'm checking Facebook or Twitter "really quickly" before getting our lunches ready. The list continues.
Rather than try to find some perfect middle ground, we've decided to eliminate media all together in the morning. It's drastically improved our mornings.
Don't make a rule like this unless you're consistent. Making occasional exceptions may seem like an act of kindness, but they will only confuse your children. Kids do much better if they know what to expect and if that rule remains consistent.
As an added benefit, our "no media" rule has encouraged family conversations. We eat together and talk about what each of us has coming up during the day.
3. Get Organized
I have a friend that loses her purse and keys nearly daily. She finally conquered her problem by creating some places around her home for her things. As soon as she walks in the door, she places her purse and keys in their place.
Nothing makes a morning panicked like children running around trying to find backpacks and lunch boxes. Make sure your preschooler knows where each of her items belongs.
Another helpful way to get organized is to create a morning checklist for your children. You can make this fun.3
Print out a picture of her favorite cartoon character, laminate it, and put a small piece of velcro to her back. Make a little chart that she can use to move her character along a path or up a ladder as she completes tasks.
Have another suggestion? Leave it in the comment section below!
For example, Flux, a popular computer app specializes in this screen adjustment. Additionally, iPhones now include a "Night Shift" feature. ↩︎
Check out these 7 Crafty Routine Charts for Chores, Bedtime, Out the Door and More! ↩︎