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Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings

Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings

Getting out the door in the morning can be a three-ring circus, with breakfast battles, lost homework, and fits of fashion fighting for center stage. Developing good habits and adopting a strong morning routine can help everyone get out the door on time and happy. Here are 10 habits you can incorporate into your routine to make mornings more manageable. 

  • Check your calendar every night, so school events, appointments, and important meetings don’t sneak up on you. Also, check the weather report, so you know in advance if you’ll need cold weather gear, umbrellas, or extra sunscreen. 
  • Prepare lunches the night before, and pack any snacks children need for school or after-school activities. You can cut down preparation time by packing lunches while you make dinner, cutting extra veggies to bag up while making a salad or slicing meat and cheese while your pasta simmers. 
Developing good habits and adopting a strong morning routine can help everyone get out the door on time and happy. Click To Tweet
  • Choose clothing the night before (for both you and your children). Make sure to include underclothes, shoes, and accessories. If your child is a fashionista who likes to change outfits several times before deciding, asking her to choose the night before can save valuable a.m. time. Hang the outfit on the closet doorknob or on a special hook so your child knows exactly what she is supposed to wear. It can also be helpful to store clothing you don’t want your children wearing to school in a different spot than their school clothes. 
  • Set up a “launch pad” area for bags, backpacks, keys, and other important items you’ll need for the day. Pack briefcases, backpacks, musical instruments, and diaper bags the night before to ensure you have everything you need. Set aside time to check your child’s homework and ensure his backpack is packed before he goes to bed, so permission slips, lunch money, gym clothes, bus passes, and school papers and projects don’t get forgotten in the morning fray. Go through any reminder slips he brings home and add any new or changed activities to your calendar right away. 
  • Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. A child (and a parent) who is well rested will have a much easier morning that one who repeatedly hits the snooze button. Children under the age of 10 need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, and adults should be clocking at least seven hours. Also, waking kids gently, with kind words, hugs and kisses helps ease children into the day more positively than barking “get up!” while tossing clothes at them. I’m not a morning person, and neither is my oldest son, Wyatt. Going into his room and cuddling with him for a few minutes helps both of us wake up in a nicer mood.
Check your calendar every night, so school events, appointments, and important meetings don’t sneak up on you. Click To Tweet
  • A visual chart of each step of the “getting ready” process can cut down on the number of reminders you have to give. Consider making laminated checklists or task cards so the kids can mark off tasks as they complete them. Include such tasks as making the bed, getting dressed to the shoes, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, washing face, putting on sunscreen, and getting the backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle. Encourage children to take responsibility for getting themselves ready for the day. Kids are more eager to help when they have some control over the process.
  • Have a standard rotation of simple breakfast options, including a few “to go” items for those extra-crazy mornings. Knowing what’s on the breakfast menu ensures you have all the groceries you need, and keeping a small rotation of regular choices reminds kids that you’re not running a full-service restaurant. Crockpot oatmeal, toast, yogurt, cereal, and fruit are all easy, healthy choices. You can also make up an extra batch of your favorite pancakes or waffles and store them in the freezer, then microwave or toast them for a fast meal. Muffins, bagels, or breakfast bars make good “to go” options. For kids that don’t like traditional breakfast foods, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese, and crackers, or even last night’s dinner leftovers can be a reasonable way to fill their bellies before school. 
Have a standard rotation of simple breakfast options, including a few “to go” items for those extra-crazy mornings. Keeping a small rotation of regular choices reminds kids that you’re not running a full-service restaurant. Click To Tweet
  • Associate tasks with specific times, such as what time you should be eating breakfast, what time you need to be dressed, and what time you need to leave. Use cell phone alarms for reminders to get going. If you know you need to leave the house by 7:30 to get to school on time, set an alarm to go off at 7:20 and again at 7:25 to prod you out the door.
  • Television, computers and video games should be off-limits in the morning, even if the kids are ready to go with time to spare. Once kids get involved in a show or game, it’s often difficult to get them to shut down and go. If your children are ready early, encourage them to play with toys or read until it’s time to leave. 
  • Allow extra time whenever possible. Padding extra time in the morning routine can save you from disaster since anything from a missing shoe to a spilled cup of milk can throw the whole morning off schedule. Figure out how much time you really need to get everyone out the door (time yourself for a week to get an accurate number), then add 15 minutes. Leave five minutes earlier than you need to so you can be prepared for traffic slowdowns or that ill-timed railroad crossing. Keep a few extra supplies in your car for last-minute emergencies, like breakfast bars or extra mittens. 
Simple Habits to Manage Your Mornings

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