“We’re running late! I have a meeting with your teacher before school, this morning! Let’s go, NOW!” Ahh, what a lovely way to start the day. Rushing my children from the moment they get up until we cram into the car for the drive to school. So, how could I have made things go more smoothly?
Kathy Peel shares 9 strategies for smoother school mornings. Try them out and see if they help you and your family!
Problem #1: After staying up late you wake up tired.
Solution: Figure out a way to get the sleep you need. It might mean an earlier bedtime for your kids, so you’ll have time to get done what you need to get done. Because, if you’re tired in the morning, you’re more likely to be grouchy and less patient. This is a formula for morning disaster.
Problem #2: From the time your feet hit the floor, you are rushing to respond to someone else’s needs.
Solution: It’s a simple reality that your family will need you in the morning. So, have all of your “things” done before they get up. Try to be dressed. Have your items packed.
Problem #3: You waste time in the mornings trying to help your kids find something to wear.
Solution: Ask your kids to set out their clothes the night before.
Problem #4: Your family never seems to have enough time for breakfast.
Solution: Have your children get dressed before they come to the breakfast table. (If you’re afraid they’ll mess up their clothes, have a dish towel ready to put in their lap or tuck into their shirt collar.) Have several no-cooking options ready: cold cereal, oatmeal prepared the night before that just needs warming, pancakes made ahead and in the freezer—ready to be re-heated in the microwave.
Problem #5: Phone calls and email begin to intrude on your family time as you begin each day.
Solution: Record a new message explaining that you are unavailable until a certain time each morning.
Problem #6: Your children turn on the TV or computer as soon as they get up, and are then too distracted to stay on task.
Solution: Have a no-TV or computer rule in the mornings before school. That goes for mom and dad too. Turn on the radio instead.
Problem #7: You struggle to get lunches made while also seeing that your kids are getting dressed and eating breakfast.
Solution: Can you teach your children to pack their own lunch? If not, try to make-ahead as much of their lunch as possible, the night before, or in the morning when you get up. Plan the night before what you’ll pack for each lunch, and leave that note by their lunchboxes. It will help you move more quickly if you do pack in the morning.
Problem #8: At least one of your kids always seems to scramble to find missing homework or a permission slip before heading to school.
Solution: Set up in-boxes on your kitchen desk or countertop. Label one for each child. Have them unload school papers into their boxes. Also, have your children pack their backpacks and gather school items before they go to bed.
Problem #9: Every morning you seem to get out the door later than you intended.
Solution: Have one child act as the “town crier.” Let them rotate turns being in charge of giving a ten-minute warning—ten minutes before it’s time to walk out the door.
Adapted from Desperate Households by Kathy Peel.