Before I had children and was up at all hours, I was a morning person. Perky, alert, and ready-to-face-the-day- that was me...once upon a time. Now it takes all my willpower to roll out of bed in the morning. :One more minute", I think, whenever the alarm goes off. Sometimes, the mantra of "please go back to sleep" echoes in my mind when the sounds of my daughter's cries drift down the hall at three in the morning.
How to stay organized in the morning and getting the kids out the door is a dilemma for many moms. Here are some tips for conquering the morning chaos:
1) Have a place for everything
Inside the door, have a designated spot for coats and book bags and shoes. You may have a coat rack, baskets, or a mat where these items can go. This will help eliminate the amount of time your kids (and you) spend looking for things. You know if something is missing, the first person they will run to for help looking for said item is you. Put small items that you may easily misplace (such as your cell phone and keys) up and away from little hands and in the same place every time you walk in the door. As silly as it seems, I laways have to remind myself of this one.
2) Prepare the night before
Make sure all school papers are signed the night before so there isn't a chance of you forgetting to sign them. Make sure homework is also done and that all book bags are already packed. Packing them in the morning increases the chance that something will be left behind in the morning chaos. Have their lunches packed and set out with their book bags in the morning. On the weekend when you will have more time, prepackage snacks for lunch boxes to save you time during the week.
3) List morning chores and who is responsible
If your kids need to take the dog out in the morning or do the morning dishes, make sure they know what their responsibilities are ahead of time to avoid arguing (okay so there may still be arguing but you can try) and wasting time in the morning. Rotate chores or have a reward chart set up so everyone is on the same page.
4)Getting the kids dressed without a hassle
Have two choices of clothes set out the night before for young ones to choose from. Check the weather report to so you know how the kids will need to dress. Write a little note on a white board of outerwear your kids will need (rain coat, umbrella, coat, hat, etc.) or have an outline of a child to which you add the outerwear they will need for the day. If you are really stressed over time in the morning, you can always put the kids to bed in their clothes. I used to do this when I was little. It drove my mother crazy.
5) Calendar Time
Create a family calendar either online (Google calendar is one option) or have one posted with everyone's schedule. Also, include due dates of your children's assignments to encourage them to post their own (with your help) deadlines. This is a good habit to foster and it keeps you from having to do all the work.
6) Have a routine and try to stick with it
Be consistent with your morning routine so your kids know what to expect so the morning is not a free for all. When you have several children and a spouse clamoring with different requests and your being pulled in different directions, it can become really chaotic and your nerves will fray.
7) "Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs"
Keep a checklist by the front or side doors of things you need to have done in the morning where you and your kids will see it before you leave the house. Reminders are never a bad thing.
Less hassle in the morning is always a better way to start the day than dealing with morning chaos.
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