Mornings are such a double edge sword for me. I love that I wake up rested and looking forward to a new day. But yet, I kind of dread getting out of my soft comfy bed (esp. if I feel like the morning could be chaotic). I’ve found (and I’ve heard from other moms, including my sister) that the following 15 steps help make mornings go smoothly and efficiently.
1- Bathe and shower the school kids the night before.
It will save a lot of time getting ready if showers and baths occur the night before.
2- Organize your kid’s closets and outfits.
I have everything well organized in my kid’s closets. This makes finding outfits, shoes, socks, etc. very easy. For older kids, having them (or you) pick out the outfit the night before that they are going to wear can help speed things along as well.
3- Make sure homework is done before dinnertime.
My mom had a rule growing up that chores and homework are to be done before dinnertime. This helped ensure that we were ready to go the next day.
4- Pre-pack lunches.
Having lunches packed makes the routine go so much easier. I have some great and inexpensive lunch ideas here.
5- Make sure backpacks are packed
Doing this the night before will help as well.
6- Eat quick meals.
We love Jimmy Dean® breakfast foods. For example, the Jimmy Dean® Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissant Sandwiches make mornings so easy! I put it them in the microwave while multi-tasking, in a few minutes they are ready to eat (and delicious), and clean up is simple because there is very little to be done. Jimmy Dean® meals are such a great way to streamline a busy morning!
7- Have an idea of what you are going to wear yourself.
Sometimes I’ll go to my own closet and freeze in thought. I think to myself, “which shirt should I wear, what shoes, and pants, jewelry, etc.etc. etc.???” Having an idea (even if you decide the night before or two minutes before you go to your closet) of what you are going to wear will help. I’ve found that if I decide before I get to my closet/dresser I am way faster at getting ready. It seems that if I envision an outfit before I see them, I go straight for that outfit, shoes, and jewelry that I know match and I save lots of time.
8- Keep up on laundry.
This makes the morning go so much more smoothly. By doing a few loads a day (I make my toddler help to earn stickers on his chore chart) I feel like I’m always prepared for that inevitable spill, or wardrobe malfunction!
9- Have responsibilities assigned out.
If you know that your spouse helps one kid get ready and you the other there is little room for error. Or with my sister’s kids she does a reward system and gives them points if they are able to get all of the things done on their morning routine chart such as: get dressed, eat breakfast, wash face and hands, brush teeth, comb hair, etc. If kids (and adults) know and work at what they need to do each morning, everything runs smoother.
10- Play music.
I love getting ready for the day to nice music. Here is a list of my favorite Pandora stations that are uplifting and calming—great for a morning routine.
11- Have a general warning bell of when you need to leave the house.
At schools, there is a warning bell and a tardy bell. This works well! It gives the students a signal to get to class ASAP. Doing something similar to notify the family of the time can help a lot as well.
You could have your cell phone or a kitchen timer set for 10 minutes before the carpool comes or when you and the kids have to leave. This signals to the child that he/she needs to be almost ready. Then set it for 5 minutes before the car pool comes. If the rule is that by the time the second timer goes off your child needs to be ready and sitting near the door, they will always be on time…and bonus they will have time to contemplate if there is anything they were supposed to pack that they may have missed.
Tip 1: Keep books by the door so they can read silently while waiting for the carpool or bus.
Tip 2: If your kids have different carpools or buses try setting alarms on a smartphone with their own personal ringtone to prevent confusion.
12- In the winter warm vehicles up ahead of time.
Plan on starting it (if you are driving the kids that day) 5 minutes before leaving (always practice safety and make sure the exhaust is well ventilated and doors to the car locked when doing this).
13- Don’t overcomplicate the morning.
Do your best to simplify, streamline, and enjoy. For example, don’t stress if your kids don’t look perfect. Some parents spend too much time worrying about small outfit accessories or hair details which can slow the morning routine down—when, in reality, after recess most of that effort has been undone.
14- Get up earlier.
It makes a huge difference for my sister if she and her three kids get up a half an hour earlier than they need to. This way everyone is not as stressed or rushed. She gets them up at 6:30, reads scriptures with them, and allows them time to relax and wake up before breakfast at 7:00 am.
15- Say no to morning electronics, movies, and TV.
My sister would sometimes let her kids watch a movie if they got up really early (like 5:30 or 6:00 am), but she found that when the time came to turn it off they wouldn’t want to and would often have a break down or be resistant to start getting for school. She soon realized that electronics and TV before school were unhelpful and cut them completely out. She’s seen a dramatic difference. Now she just has her kids read books or play quietly until 6:30.
Staying consistent will help not only your mornings go smoothly, but they will be enjoyable as well.