Mornings, now that my kids are both in school mornings can the most stressful time of the day. Getting everyone ready, plus yourself and then to where everyone needs to be, on time – that is no small feat! In an effort to try to make our own mornings go way better than they did last school year, I added a few things to our routine. So far our mornings are way smoother and happier. We still have some hiccups, late slips and maybe some tears but they are pretty few and far between. Here are a few things we do to make mornings easier with two kids.
Wake up before the kids, get some you time in for yourself. Maybe enjoy a coffee before the morning rush, enjoy a leisurely look at Pinterest, work-out or practice some yoga. I love to wake up extra early and practice yoga, it just starts my day out on the best foot. But maybe you aren’t morning person (you could try for a week and see, maybe you like the morning and don’t even know it!), and then if that’s the case – ignore this tip and sleep in till the very last second!
Do you meal plan, write a grocery list each week? Add to that list making list and write down in a visible spot (we have a chalkboard in our kitchen) the weeks lunch options – so every adult can see what’s on the menu and lend a hand when needed. To be even more efficient, I break down our weekly lunch plan, in two lists: MAINS and SNACKS (if you are looking for some ideas for lunch mains, you can find that here). This way, I don’t have to scour the fridge and cupboards everyday. I can see what is available at a quick glance and it makes packing lunches much easier. Also I only really have to be food creative, one time during the week – when I make the list.
The best mornings are the ones that go smoothly, and after a lot of long and hard lessons we realized the smoothest mornings happen when everything is prepped the night before. It’s not always easy, usually I have to force myself to do the before bed prep, holding my eyes open with tooth picks to get it done – but it’s always worth it. For me the night before prep is a must, I sneak out to the yoga studio every morning, so it’s key that everything is done and set for Chris and the kids so when I get home they are already going through the mornings motions.
- Make lunches the night before, but leave out any dry goods and keep it in the fridge overnight (add any dry goods in the morning).
- Prep breakfast. Pour cereal or oatmeal in bowls (then just add milk/water in the morning)
- Have the kids help or pick out their own clothes the night before, no morning arguments (okay, way less) if they already know what the clothing plan is.
- Pack bags and lay everything out. School days can be complicated (is it library, swimming, music or gym day?), make sure you aren’t missing anything. I also like to pack extra bags for after school activities, if it’s a swimming lesson night I pack the swimming bags before bed – because I always think there will be time, but usually we are rushing to find the time.
- Layout coats, or shoes.
The worst is when you think you have time, then you catch a glimpse at the clock and you realized you have no time. And then the rushing starts, and not many people (especially kiddos) react good to being rushed – trust me I know from very in-depth experience, I’m a rusher. Using my phone to set several mid-point morning alarms is super helpful. We don’t lose track of time and every one can hear the alarm and we all know what needs to be done next. Set alarms for the best times to: Get dressed, put those shoes on, and head out the door.
Giving them some responsibility, allowing them feel grown up really helps. Try a morning checklist, so they need to cross items off as they finish them. It’s a good way to hear your own voice less often, you’ll still repeat yourself but about 20% less – and that’s a win in my books. download GET READY checklist (pdf)
Don’t rush the morning away. Save time for those moments that everyone will savor all day. Cuddles, maybe a few moments of playtime? Start the day on the right foot, or at least have a few moments of it.
I know, duh Brandy – you already know. But key to a good morning and day for that matter, is a good sleep. Stick with the bedtime program and try not to steer to late, or too early from the routine time – both can lead to tragically grumpy or whiny mornings (from Mom and Dad too).
Warm lemon water, before anything else is a great way to jump-start your digestive system and get some H2O in your body. Then go for the coffee or tea. The key is, take care of yourself. If Mom (or Dad) is happy, chances are everyone else will follow suit (or at least be slightly less grumpy).
What do you think? How are your mornings? Do you have any tips to make mornings with kids easier?