School day mornings can be rushed, hectic and all around just plain crazy. Here are some tips, with the help of my blogger friends, to get us out the door and on time to school and work all while keeping our sanity in check. You might even find the mornings can be calm!
- Give yourself an extra 15 minutes. Yes that extra 15 minutes of sleep sounds SO luxurious, but the morning will be so much smoother if you give yourself more time then you think you need to get everyone ready. Pad yourself for those inevitable mishaps.
- Take 5 just for yourself. Sit for 5 minutes sipping your coffee and flipping through a magazine before your day gets into full gear. Mediate, read, or sit on your front patio to breathe in the fresh air. “I would take 10 minutes before kids get up to meditate….It gives me peace and calm to carry on through the morning and the rest of the day.” Nirvanama recalls. Whatever your relaxation take five minutes to start your morning out on a calm note.
- Prep the night before. Lay out clothes and hair supplies, start lunches, check backpacks, line up shoes and prep as much as you can the night before.
- Keep your car stocked with essentials so if you forget something you have your survival kit in your car so you don’t have to go without or go back home. Survival kit ideas: extra water, change of clothes, workout clothes, and healthy snacks like nuts, granola bars, and tuna. Other items to include in your car survival kit: deodorant, basic make-up, mints, toothbrush and a comb.
- Stay Calm. When a field trip form needs to be signed last-minute, “crazy hat” day at school is just remembered or milk is spilled STAY CALM. Yes, this is hard when we already feel rushed, but you know not staying calm ultimately leads to more of a delay. This is the exact reason we are giving ourselves that extra 15 each morning. “It’s amazing how a non-stressed Mom can have a calming effect on our kids-same goes for that crazy stressed Mom.” Lori says.
- Tackle Tantrums like a Pro. Those extra 15 minutes….they will come in handy for this tip. Here are few tips to tackle those tantrums:
Acknowledge the feeling/behavior: “you sound very mad right now that we have to leave for daycare.” “It is ok to feel mad.” “We still have to leave in 2 minutes.”
Talk simply, firmly and kindly. “I understand that you want to stay home and play, but we are leaving in 1 minute.”
Above all else stay calm as anything other than calmness will transfer to the kid(s).
Positive Reinforcement (see next tip). And give 5, 3 and 1 minute warnings that it is almost time to leave.
Provide choices. “Do you want to wear this read shirt or this green shirt?” “Do you want to bring monkey or bear for the car ride?” Let the child take ownership in getting out of the house and to the car. Examples: help Mommy lock the door, carry your water bottle, or push the garage opener.
Great Resource: “The Happiest Toddler on the Block.” There are many great tips in this book. One tip that I have tried with my 3 year old that works about half the time is to repeat back to him exactly what he said in a silly voice (but kind voice). “I don’t want to go. Don’t want to go! Don’t want to go!” This generally calms the tantrum and then you can repeat in a calm voice (when he is calm too) “we have to leave for daycare now so that you are on time and so is Mommy.” Don’t give into tantrums!
7. Positive Reinforcement. Pointing out great behavior is a very powerful form of positive reinforcement. “Bella, great job getting yourself dressed this morning.” “Nathan, wonderful job sharing your kindle with sister.” Our life in 3D states“…..documenting their accomplishments or lack there of on the color ‘clip Up’ chart. The girls have gotten into a bit of competition to see who can clip-up for good behavior.”
8. Use the TV or other electronics. If one kiddo is ready to go the TV, Kindle or computer is a great tool to engage the “ready” kid while you get your other kiddos finished up and the car packed up.
9. Quick Breakfast Foods. You should always have some grab and go morning food in your pantry in case a sit down breakfast is not in the plan for a particular morning or ever for that matter.
10. Get yourself ready first. Get yourself showered, dressed, fed and totally ready before the kiddos wake up and see how much smoother the morning goes. The few days I have hit the snooze button and gotten myself ready with the kids…..chaos.
11. Organize. Backpacks, shoes and anything that goes out the door in the morning should be organized by the door. Create places that shoes, homework, backpacks and coats always go. You will not waste time looking for these things and an organized morning = a smooth morning. Great shelf/hook pictured.
12. Fuel yourself with healthy food Moms: How are you fueling your body all day Mom? Start your day with a healthy, energized punch of veggies and protein that will keep you at your best all day and energize your body for all that you do.
13. Independent Kids. Kiddos that pick their clothes and accessories the night before are taking ownership in the morning routine. When they wake up they can put their own clothes on, sit down for breakfast, brush their teeth and then assist in packing their lunch and water bottle in their backpack. Do a few practice runs on the weekend to get this routine established. Kiddos can also help make their lunch the night before.
14. Teamwork. Reinforce the idea that everyone in the family is part of the team. Have fun and name your team! Point out good teamwork constantly. Siblings can help each other as Jean advises “It takes a lot of prep the night before and letting older ones assist where they can. Everyone has to pitch in.”
15. Positive Start. Wake up each child with a big huge and a positive message. “How are you feeling today? Are you ready for a great day? I feel so happy that I get to start my day with you.”
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Thank you to my blogging friends for your tips and help!
Erika at WorkingMomWarrior
And Jean and Lori