Make Over Your Morning Routine
Mornings are by far the most challenging part of a family’s day; and if yours gets off to a bad start, it can leave you feeling stressed and playing catch-up for the rest of the day. Here, Anthea Savage offers some top tips for making over your morning routine:
When children go to bed, take an hour and prepare yourself for the following day. Put a calendar on the fridge, where you can mark out the days that PE kits are needed or when dental or doctor appointments dictate you need to leave earlier. A checklist can also help children become more independent and manage their mornings better.
If the children monopolise your time in the morning, why not shower the night before so you have less to do in the morning? If you simply aren’t a “morning person”, try to prepare as much as you can the night before, so you can enjoy breakfast with your family. This might mean supervising all homework the evening before, so there is less pressure on you and the children in the morning.
Change your bedtime
If getting up early leaves you feeling drained and tried, try to go to bed earlier. A good night’s sleep can leave you feeling more refreshed in the morning and better able to cope with the challenges ahead.
The same applies to the rest of the family. Children who wake up tearful and irritable are often still tired, so make sure they get at least eight hours of unbroken sleep per night. Discourage TV watching in bed also, as this stimulates the brain and can cause sleep disturbances. A shower or bath before bed can promote a good night’s rest.
If you’re a night owl, then the sound of the alarm going off in the morning can feel like finger nails down a blackboard. Try setting your alarm for 10-15 minutes before you actually need to get up.
When it goes off, press snooze, turn on the bedside lamp and allow yourself time to wake up gradually. Maybe you and your partner could share the morning routine and alternate the early starts between you?
Many parents don’t like making packed lunches the night before, but it can shave around 15 minutes off the morning routine. If you’re familiar with a shoe-hunt most mornings, try assigning your children with a landing pad, where they can take off their uniform/bag the day before.
Setting out your children’s clothes, shoes and uniforms the night before can also save another 15 minutes. It can also encourage younger children to dress themselves.
Taking turns in the bathroom
Allocating bathroom slots can save a lot of arguments in the mornings; while keeping toothbrushes and cloths in the kitchen can help speed things along when you have a lot of people to get out the door. Consider getting washed and dressed as soon as you get out of bed (older children too), rather than waiting until after breakfast.
This can leave you feeling fresher and more awake – which in turn creates a positive start to the day. Consider a reward system that encourages younger children to get washed and dressed by a certain time.
Make the most of breakfast
This is the most important meal of the day, so make sure everyone makes time to enjoy theirs. It’s also a great time for parents and children to interact and discuss their plans for the day ahead. Assign clearing-up tasks to older children or your partner, while you get little ones ready.
Mealtimes can be battlegrounds in many households, so if you have a fussy eater, consider sending them to the school’s breakfast club one or two mornings a week as a treat or reward.
Turn off your email
If you’re a working parent, you may feel the urge to go online and check emails first thing in the morning; or surf the web while enjoying your breakfast. It’s easy to get distracted when you go online, so set yourself time to do this in the morning or leave communications until you get into work.
Leave extra time
Always build in extra time for meltdown moments, when your pre-schooler decides he/she doesn’t like what they’re wearing or doesn’t want to go to nursery. And if this time isn’t needed, you can always enjoy a story together before leaving the house or simply having a cuddle on the sofa! What are your time-saving tips? Leave a comment below and let us know.