#BH5MinFix: 6 Ways to De-Stress Your Family’s Morning Routine
“I don’t wanna get up!”…”No, I want to wear THESE shoes.” When weekday mornings with your kids go something like this, it’s easy to feel worn out and overwhelmed before you’ve even left the house.
For this week’s #BH5MinFix, we’ve rounded up some simple ways to help you streamline your family’s morning routine and ensure that everyone gets out the door on time:
Plan and Prepare the Night Before: In a response to the call-out we posted on our social channels inviting parents to share their best strategies, our community member Brooke told us via Instagram that this was her go-to trick for simplifying mornings. She says, “Even if it means a little less sleep for me, I’d rather wake up sleepy than feel rested but be rushed around getting things together.” This tactic is a favorite in many other households for good reason. By getting a few things done the night before, like picking out outfits and packing lunches, if, OK, when your child is slowwwly eating his breakfast, you can feel a little less frazzled knowing you don’t have umpteen other things to do in order to leave on time.
Unplug: Leaving the TV and gadgets off in the mornings can help keep kids from getting distracted on the tasks at hand. Our blogger Mary also tries to minimize her own tech use in the mornings by trying to not check her work email before she leaves the house. As she wisely points out, “If your child senses stress, they will be stressed too.”
Set Up a Launch Pad: Keep everything that you and your kids need to leave the house in one central place, that way there isn’t a mad scramble to look for misplaced items. Kids can keep items like their backpacks, shoes, coats, and permission slips in this area. For adults, this is a great place to corral your keys, work bag, books you need to return to the library, and letters you need to mail, etc.
Try the “When/Then” Approach: Create a when/then routine, where the not-so-fun parts of the routine are done first, recommends parenting expert Amy McCready. For example, you might say, “When you’re dressed, you’ve brushed your hair, and you’ve brushed your teeth, then we’ll sit down and have breakfast and read a quick story.” Amy, who founded Positive Parenting Solutions, says: “Give your child a checklist (in pictures or words) on a clipboard and let her manage her own tasks. Kids as young as 4-years-old can wake themselves up with an alarm clock and complete the routine on their own.” Here are some great ideas for a.m. routine charts for children.
Keep Track of Time With Music: Two Kids & A Budget blogger, Tennille, learned this trick when she was a child and plans on sharing it with her sons. “When I was a child my mother would often play a cassette tape….With each song we had a different job to do, make our bed, get dressed, eat breakfast (that got 3 songs), brush teeth, and finally get our shoes and coats on,” she explains, “Now that my sons are starting their school years I plan to use this same technique with them. Not only will it help them be on time, but it will also give them a very basic education in time management.”
Offer Kudos For a Job Well Done: Positive reinforcement can go a long way. Our Family Room blogger Amy has written about her struggles to get her preschooler, Owen, up and out the door on time. She finally landed on a simple four step plan that involves lots of repetition as well as some recognition for good behavior. On mornings when the plan goes well, Amy makes sure to give her son lots of praise.