Monday, August 29, 2011

Easier Mornings

I have had the opportunity to be both a working mother and a stay at home mom.  No matter which role I was in one of the most stressful times of day were always in the mornings getting my son off to school.  Finding outfits, clean underwear, socks, and loose papers needed for school.  So many times he missed the bus, forgot homework or lunch money or lunch and I had to run to the school so he could eat.  The times when everything was actually together were only because I was yelling which is not the kind of mother I want to be.  I finally decided I could no longer send my child off to school stressed and have my day start off with guilt.  I made a list of the things that caused the most stress and panic and worked on ways to eliminate them from our lives.  The basic premise is to do whatever can possibly be done the night before and have your children do whatever they possibly can for themselves.  At first it may be difficult to change old habits but using even a couple of these strategies can turn a crazy morning into an enjoyable one.
1.       Layout your clothes and your child’s clothes for the week.  Include every article of clothing needed even socks and underwear.  I keep my son’s in a weekly organizing closet hanger.  Every night before bed I take out the next day’s clothes and he gets dressed as soon as he gets up in the morning before even coming downstairs.  This eliminates any clothing battles or realizations that there is no clean underwear when the bus is ten minutes from arriving.

2.       Put dinner in a separate container for lunch the next day.  I try to make dinners that can be reheated the next day.  I use a container for my son that keeps his lunch hot all day.  I have to take a minute to heat in up before packing it but it’s nice to know my son is having a nice lunch instead of the gross school lunches or the same sandwich day after day.

3.       Have your child’s homework done and backpack packed the night before.  This is a no brainer but is sometimes hard to put into practice when your child is tired and whiny at night but so worth it.  I make my son a list that includes pictures so he knows exactly what he has to do after school.  Once they get used to doing this it’s so much easier.

4.       Get all of your things together for the next day.  This is where you practice what you preach.  When your child is preparing for the next day you can also set aside everything next to the door or even into your car for the next day.  Hang your keys right next to the door.  There’s nothing worse than searching for keys when you’re running late.

5.       Prepare breakfast for the next day or even the week.  If I know I have limited time for the week and won’t be able to make breakfast I’ll pack cereal into five baggies and then cut up fruit and put milk in a creamer cup so my son can prepare his own cereal breakfast.  You can also make easy items such as hard boiled eggs or egg salad.  Even pancakes made the night before can be reheated.  Setting the coffee pot the night before also cuts down on a few minutes.  Every few minutes you save is a few extra you can spend enjoying your breakfast, coffee, and kids.
Hopefully these ideas will help you!  What are some of your favorite tricks for making the mornings run more smoothly?  Leave your comments below.

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