Mornings have been killing me lately. I am frustrated and stressed out constantly pondering ways to make the routine be smoother for our family. Getting out the door is one part of parenting that yanks at me. Something feels wrong about pushing a child out the door, to stop playing, to adhere to some schedule I created for them. That is the reality of most of our days, though. So, here are a few things that have been working for us.
- Bathe the night before (and I don't mean your kids)
- Check the weather and lay out clothes the night before
- Take ten minutes to think and prepare the food for lunches and breakfast
- What time do you need to wake up? Set your alarm for 30 minutes before
- Use a dressing basket to encourage younger children to dress themselves
- Create rituals: whether it be reading a book or two together as a family or sitting down together for breakfast, try to have some part of the morning a family ritual
- Create an invitation to the breakfast table like a new coloring page
- Set expectations before the stress of getting out the door hits. Set ground rules with your children and your significant other
- Ask children to help each other. My 4 year old enjoys helping his brother put on his coat.
- Don't nag and try different language like: “let me know when you're done reading that book and the you can go upstairs to put on your day clothes” or “are you excited for school today? that's great. It would be really sad if we were late.” or “i bet you are really looking forward to the park after school today. unfortunately we can't go unless you help us get out the door.”
- Make play a part of the getting out the door process rather than the dragging the kid out the door process. Sing a song like “two little speckled frogs”, for example, for getting shoes on: “Two little speckled frogs sitting on a great big log, eating the most delicious bugs. Yum. Yum. One jumped into the pool to put on his shoes. Now there is one speckled frog…”
- Allow your child to bring one item (into the car) with him. For my boys sometimes it is a book, or a train, or even a piece of fruit. They garner some control and bring a comfort from home with them.
Thank you for choosing to read this post today.