Create a morning to-do list. My children are closely spaced, and they need a lot of prodding, a little reminding, and constant encouragement to focus on getting ready in the morning. When my ten-year old repeatedly said, “What’s next?” – I decided to take the responsibility off of me and put it into his hands.
Each of our children has a morning list. It has been altered and redone throughout the years – sometimes it has pictures, sometimes words. Sometimes it has required them to check off a task once they have completed it, and sometimes – like now – it’s just there as a reminder of the morning routine. The morning schedule prompt helps them accept responsibility for their own getting-readiness, and it also helps me remember who needs to do what tasks.
Know your children. Despite all my creative efforts for morning organization, my nine-year old was still taking forty minutes to put on a pair of underwear, jeans, a t-shirt and socks. I have never understood (even while watching him) how a 30-second task can be stretched out that long. But, that’s who he is and, when I finally realized (and accepted) that, I started turning his light on thirty minutes early every morning. For a slow-to-rise child, this provides extra time to ease into morning without putting him behind schedule. By the time I come back to say, “time to get ready”, he is good to go and mornings are much easier.
It’s important to know who your children are and how their unique traits may impact your morning schedule. Making adjustments to accommodate their needs is easier than facing the frustration day after day.
Be ready before they wake up. Life seems so much easier if I have completed all my morning tasks before my children have to wake up to start getting ready. Preparing lunches the night before takes a load off in the morning, especially if you can involve your children in the task of making them. When you rise early enough to exercise or meditate, you’ll start the day off with a good attitude and enough stamina to make it through the morning rush. Taking a look at the calendar the night before will also help you prepare for what is to come (You won’t be late for that early morning pediatric dentist appointment you knew you shouldn’t have scheduled if you look at your calendar the night before). Morning time is easily gobbled up when you become distracted with checking email, so avoid looking at your computer until your children have all left for school.
Mornings can easily take more of your energy than necessary. Too often, mom is drained before the day even starts. With the right strategy and forethought, however, mom can face morning head on – and still have enough energy left for the witching hours in the afternoon.
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