15 Tips Moms Need to Know for a Smooth School Day Morning

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

School Day Morning Organization

School Day Morning Organization

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.”

This post contains affiliate links.

Thank you to my blogging friends for your tips and help!

Our Life in 3D

Erika at WorkingMomWarrior

Nirvanama

And Jean and Lori

The mad rush for school supplies and the do’s and don’ts

Have you braved the crowds and bought your school supplies yet? I built up my courage yesterday and hit the overwhelmingly huge Walmart after I failed at finding anything on my kiddo’s lists at the dollar store.

And if you have not made it to the store yet beware as there appears to be a shortage of glue sticks out there (or at least at Walmart).

Do's & Dont's of School Supply Shopping

Do’s & Dont’s of School Supply Shopping

Do order online if it’s affordable and your school offers a site. Mine did but the deadline was about two months ago and I didn’t even want to think about school supplies then. Next year I will!

Don’t do the $ 1.00 store unless you have a secret I don’t know about. I tried one dollar store and they had none of the specifics that the teachers were looking for (such as brands and counts).

Do take a small risk and go off brand if the price is much better and the difference is small. For example the teacher wanted GLAD sandwich bags, but I had a coupon for Ziploc and Walmart had them on sale. So Ziploc bags it was!

Don’t forget the coupons. I almost never use coupons b/c most likely they will be in my beige purse hanging from my closet as I am fishing around my black purse trying to locate said coupons and frustrating everyone behind me in line. Since that’s usually how it goes I just gave up on the whole coupon clipping thing. However Sunday a newspaper mysteriously appeared in my yard (I don’t normally get it) and I clipped a few coupons on a whim and stapled them to my supply list which resulted in an $ 8 savings at Walmart. I was so delighted with this $ 8 savings that I might even start using coupons again!

Do order online from Amazon. I got my glue sticks there, a few other items and was able to add on a 4 ounce bottle of glue for 50 cents.

Don’t take the kids with you if possible.  I used my lunch hour and finding all these exact supplies required my full attention and a huge amount of patience.

Do stock up on items that you would use at home throughout the year.  The prices are so good (50 cent notebooks) that I threw in a few extra for the home.

When chatting with some Moms today I learned that one school was able to get the whole supply list on Amazon for one click ordering. I am asking our school to do that next year. Ah, imagine the ease of school supply shopping that way! But for now don’t wait until the last minute because all the glue sticks might be long gone!

15 Tips for Road Tripping with your Kiddos

Working Moms NEED vacations!  And we need tips to survive for the road for hours with our little ones. Here are some pointers to prepare for your road trip with your kiddos all while keeping it fun and safe!

15 Tips for Road Tripping with Kiddos

15 Tips for Road Tripping with Kiddos

Rule 1: Don’t bother the driver.  You cannot safely drive with arguments, distractions or requests to get snacks, dropped items or water. Have this safety conversation with your kids multiple times before you hit the road.

Rule 2: Remember the snacks, but make them bland if you have a little one that gets car sick. Keep snacks in easy to reach and open containers for each kid.

Rule 3: Nothing but water. Juice spills and is sticky. Stick with water for the kiddos.

Rule 4: Prep your car. Put the kid’s water, snacks and toys within their reach. Put your snacks, caffeine and water within your reach. Before you pull out of the driveway make sure the kids can safely reach their things. Pack the day before. You will be less likely to forget needed items and you won’t feel rushed.

Rule 5: Have an emergency plan. What is your plan if your car breaks down (AAA, OnStar, Fix a Flat, etc.)? Have plenty of water as well.

Rule 6: Get your car checked out before you hit the road and fuel up the night before.

Rule 7: Car Phone Charger & GPS are a must (also consider a road map in case technology fails). The first time I used the GPS on my IPhone I had to find a wireless store about 3 hours into the trip b/c the GPS drained the battery so quickly.

Rule 8: Tackle Car Sickness. My oldest gets terribly car sick. She has learned to keep her eyes focused in the car and generally on a DVD as looking out the window tends to make her car sick. This is why we stick to water only and bland snacks. Keep Ziploc bags, a change of clothing that is easily accessible and wet wipes stocked in your car.

Rule 9: Have a stay awake plan. Once my kids fall asleep I start playing one of my books on CD which keeps me wide awake (along with continuous caffeine).

Rule 10: Something new for the kids. I have a hand held DVD player that I only break out for the car trips so that it is “new” and exciting for the kids. I have taught my girls how to use it so that I am not distracted with them asking for help.  New books, stickers, small toys and activity books are other examples.  I am also a new fan of the Kindle.  You can download new games on the Kindle for your kids as well which kept my 3 tykes busy for hours on our last road trip.

Rule 11: Car games. Think beyond “I spy” (which makes my oldest even more car sick from looking around outside) to spelling bees, naming that tune, counting to 200, narrating stories, telling jokes and having sing-a-longs.

Rule 12: Hit the bathroom before you leave and at every gas station.

Rule 13: Never, ever get below half a tank is my rule for road tripping if you don’t know your route.

Rule 14: Hide some cash in your car and an extra I.D. What is your back up plan if you leave your purse in the gas station bathroom?

Rule 15: Have fun! Road tripping is an adventure full of surprises! The journey and anticipation can be just as fun as the destination.

I originally posted this a year ago and review these tips before each road trip with my little children.

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