If you’re like me and have a few little ones at home who are primary school-aged or younger, coaxing your kids to wake up, get dressed, and eat properly in the morning can really start your day on the wrong foot, because let’s face it: most kids are really grumpy and fussy in the mornings! But the morning routine doesn’t have to be such a struggle. I recommend these strategies to eliminate some of the stress of the morning rush:
1) Do as much as you can the night before.
If you have to take your kids to daycare or school in the mornings, you don’t have a lot of time to waste from the time they wake up to the time they have to be out the door. If you know your kids are especially cranky and uncooperative in the morning, reduce stress by trying to do as much as you can the night before: bathing them, picking out the clothes they will wear the next day, and even packing book bags and preparing lunches. That way, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in the morning in case your kids put up a fight.
2) Stagger wake-up calls.
Mums with large families know that it’s hard enough to get one kid up and ready to go in the mornings, let alone doing it for an entire household. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stagger wake-up calls so that you can deal with smaller children first (they need more help getting ready) or those who tend to ignore your first few knocks on their door. You’ve got to have an alarm clock to assist you with wake-up calls; the kids may drown out the sound of your voice, but it’s pretty hard to ignore the annoying buzz of the alarm.
3) Don’t make breakfast into a battle.
Breakfast is an important start to every child’s day, but it shouldn’t have to be a big morning battle. If your child refuses to eat whatever you’re serving that day, compromise by allowing him or her to have one of the healthful snacks from the lunch box and move on.
4) Set a routine—as well as consequences for those who don’t follow it.
Make sure even your youngest kids are ready to leave the house on time by establishing a daily routine for them to follow; maybe it’s to eat breakfast first, then clean their teeth, get dressed, put their shoes on, and wait by the door. Help instil the routine by establishing consequences for those who break it, such as an earlier bedtime, less time for games or TV when they get home, or dinner without dessert. Likewise, if your children make it through the week without giving you problems, find a way to reward them for their efforts.
What is your morning routine – do you have one, or do you prefer to go with flow? Why not share some of of your tips below.