By Elizabeth Bowman
The alarm goes off and you hit snooze. You just want five more minutes before you have to face the dreaded morning rush. But the morning rush doesn’t have to be dreaded or a rush. All it takes is a little preparation and organization.
Reality check: Make sure you’re giving you and your family enough time to begin with.
Over the next few days keep an eye on the clock from the time you wake up to the time everyone heads out the door and take note. Is everyone super stressed and/or super rushed? If so, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you and your family waking early enough?
- Are there distractions whittling away your morning (TV, phones, video games, outfit indecision)?
- Are there members of your family who spend too much time looking for things (their shoes, their homework, their keys)?
Once you become aware of your family’s morning habits and how and where they are spending their time, everyone can take steps towards making better use of their time.
Here are 5 tips to make the morning rush a little less hectic and help you get the family out the door with time (and energy) to spare:
Make the most of the night before: Do as much as you can the night before, such as packing lunches, choosing outfits (for both parents and kids), completing any forms or paperwork your children need for school or daycare, packing backpacks, and planning for breakfast. Even better, implement all of these things into an evening routine. An example of an evening routine could be homework, dinner, packing lunches and backpacks, outfit selection, bath, story and bed. Completing these things in the evening will save you time and stress in the morning.
Establish a morning routine: Establishing routines for both parents and children can be helpful in creating a calmer out-the-door experience. Routines for children are especially helpful because they establish expectations and create a pattern your children can follow. The key is to keep it consistent. If your evening routine is set up to better prepare you for mornings, the morning routine could be as simple as wake up, shower, dress, eat breakfast and head out the door. But routines are boring you say? If boring equals smoother mornings, maybe routines are not so bad!
Set up a ‘Drop’ zone near the door: The ‘Drop’ zone is an area near the door you head out of each morning that holds all the items you need to take with you; your children’s backpacks, your baby’s diaper bag, your work bag, items to return to a store, dry cleaning, shoes, jackets, basically all of the things that need to go with you in the morning. Having this zone established near your door and placing your ‘drop’ items there the night before, will save you from searching and gathering these items in the morning. Keep in mind this area only works if you ‘drop’ items here as you enter the house each time – it works both ways!
Create a checklist that lives near the door: If you find yourself forgetting items once you’ve left the house, create a checklist. A client of mine with a 6 month old baby kept forgetting items – important items (the diaper bag, car keys, her glasses) when she left the house. She also would worry that she left the heater on, or her curling iron plugged in, or forgot to feed the cat. To help her remember and alleviate her worry we created a checklist that she hung on the back of her front door which listed the items she needed each time she left the house, as well as things she needed to do before she left the house. Now every time she heads out, she makes certain she has those important things completed and that the curling iron is unplugged.
Remain calm: Easier said than done I know. You’re probably saying to yourself “Come to my house at 8 am and see if you can remain calm.” Remember though that the energy you give off affects those around you, and if you keep a calm and composed demeanor, those around you will be more likely to be calm as well.