Getting out the door for work is hard enough without adding one or more little people into the mix. Anyone who has children can relate to how stressful this can be. Even older children often need constant supervision to make sure they get up, get dressed, brush teeth, and collect their belongings. With the right routine in place though, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you don’t want to feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you get to work, or spend your morning being the world’s most painful nagger, try incorporating these tips into your day:
- Have a routine: First and foremost, design a routine that works for your family and stick to it. Make sure your children are also aware of the routine and know what’s expected of them. If they’re older – say 8 to 10 plus (depending on their maturity), let them contribute their own ideas on how the morning routine might work better.
- Prepare the night before: Anything that can be done the night before should be. Get clothes out (including yours), pack bags, make lunches, locate homework or projects that might be due, complete permission notes, prepare breakfast items, and set the alarm.
- Put things away as you go: Allocate a dedicated space for kids’ stuff. Use a spot near the door or kitchen that’s handy for everyone. It could be a washing basket, shelf or spot in a corner where everything can be placed – shoes, lunchboxes, backpacks, library books, permission notes, and anything else related to school or daycare. Teach your child to put anything they want to take with them in this spot – things like a news item or a ball for lunchtime games. That way there’s no last minute frantic search, or worse, tears when you arrive at the school gate and they’ve forgotten their special something.
- Create charts: Children, especially little ones, are visual and reward driven. Creating charts to prompt them on what to do (and in what order) is a great idea to help ensure your morning runs smoothly. Your chart should include everything they need to do such as getting dressed, making their bed, tidying their room, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, doing their hair, putting on their shoes, taking their lunch, and packing/grabbing their bag. You can make your own chart with great ideas available from places like Pinterest, or even purchase one from somewhere like The Organised Housewife. Include a little tick box and trust them to tick it themselves, with the promise of some kind of reward at the end of the week. Consider using a kitchen timer for any areas where your kids dawdle. Most children love to beat the clock and it’s better than your voice urging them to hurry up!
- Make breakfast simple: Instead of offering a variety of options for different tastebuds, make breakfast easy by letting kids help themselves to cereal or offering just one or two options. Save the cooked breakfasts for the weekend, and use faster options for weekdays – cereals, yoghurt, bread, boiled eggs (done the night before), smoothies (again with ingredients prepped the night before), or toast. Get all the items out the night before and have them ready on the kitchen bench – bowls, cutlery, cereal, spreads etc.
- Use rewards: Most kids want to do anything other than getting ready in the morning. Use that to your advantage – whether it’s playing on their device or watching TV – offer that as a reward when everything else has been done.
- Model your desired behaviour: If you want your children to do it – you better be prepared to do it yourself. So that means getting your clothes and bag ready the night before, keeping breakfast simple, and getting ready in the same order you expect your kids to.
- Get up earlier: If you’re really struggling to get out the door on time, consider setting your alarm a little earlier. Even 15 minutes can make all the difference – especially if that time is spent on your own before the children wake up. Use it to get yourself ready and maybe even have a cup of coffee or tea in peace.
- Build in a buffer: If you can, build in some buffer time for when things don’t go according to plan. Allowing extra time in your schedule – even just 5 or 10 minutes – will help you to better handle a toddler’s meltdown, a nappy blow out, or a lost item that must be located to take to school.
Consistency really is the key to success in this area. Working out the best routine for your own family and following through with it every day will help you get out the door for work on time every time!
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