Are you always in a rush in the mornings on school days trying to make sure that everyone gets ready on time? Do you make the school bus wait or drop your children at school past the time? Do things, whether it’s your child’s school work, her PE kit, or your exercise gear, tend to be forgotten at home? Although this moment of the day is short, it can be very intense and charged with crankiness and low patience level. So with the imminent start of a new school year, let me share 5 tips to help you avoid the morning rush.
#1 PLAN LUNCH BOXES AND SNACKS AHEAD
I find that investing time on the weekend to plan the family meals for the week ahead and making a grocery list saves a lot of time. It saves shopping time because you shop on the basis of your list. It also saves cooking time because you know what to cook and have all the ingredients needed.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of planning all your meals, start with breakfasts, lunch boxes, and snacks.
#2 PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Everything that can be anticipated the night before should be done. Even if you think they are small tasks, they really add up. Also, you’ll be more efficient if you execute these tasks without the pressure of the clock running and the crankiness of your children (or yours!).
Consider doing the following tasks the night before:
- Check homework and sign school authorisation forms
- Pre-pack your bags and the children’s school bags with homework, books, stuff for after-school activities, etc.
- Prep or cook the food for the next day’s lunch (if possible)
- Set the breakfast table
- Lay your kids’ clothes, socks, shoes, and accessories (even if they wear school uniforms) and yours too (at the minimum decide what you’re going to wear the next day if it takes you a long time to make the decision).
Image sourced on Pinterest, saved from portalanaroca.com.br
In the morning, you’ll just have to complete the bags with items that couldn’t have been added the night before such as your hand-phone, the lunch boxes, and the snacks.
#3 CONSOLIDATE ALL THAT’S NEEDED IN ONE PLACE
Each family member should have a place allocated where s/he can consolidate all s/he needs to take along for the day ahead. I call this place a “launching pad”. Even if the bags are not packed in the evenings, at least you won’t have to go frantically around your home in the morning to gather what’s needed!
If it helps, keep a checklist next to your launching pad. Make the list specific for each day of the week based on the kids’ school and after-school activities.
#4 CREATE ROUTINES
Children, as adults, in fact, tend to do things with less resistance when they know what to expect. Evening and morning routines can help save a lot of time. Write a list of things that need to be done in sequence. Make sure you have a realistic idea of the time it takes to do each of these tasks. It’s actually good to time each task that each family member has to complete if you want to be out of the door on time without rushing. No point in indicating 5 minutes for breakfast if your child is a slow eater and needs 15 minutes.
Develop the routine with your child. If she’s keen, turn it into an art project where she can express her creativity. She’s more likely to respond positively to her own drawings or collages than she would to her mummy’s “boring” checklist – I talk from experience 🙂 You can find a lot of printables on Pinterest like the one below:
Image sourced on Pinterest, saved from thenymelrosefamily.com
Just make sure that the time is specified on the checklist and there’s a clock visible so that the child can check she’s on time. For the younger kids unable to read the time, give them advanced notice e.g. “10 minutes before we leave”. Remove distractions such as TV and electronics in the morning if you want them to keep moving.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers
Get your child to contribute to tasks that are age-appropriate. Make it her responsibility for example to gather her things. That’s where routines and checklists help. If you have a child between 4 to 6 years old, you can use pictures instead of words for items that she needs to gather. Your child may actually see it as a game and with consistent practice, it’ll become a habit. Eventually, she’ll be able to pack her bag all by herself. Be patient: add responsibilities progressively and don’t expect perfection.
The tips above should help you not only be on time without rushing but also create a much more pleasant environment in the morning. You’ll be able to part with your loved ones on a more positive note instead of feelings of resentment and to better focus on the tasks at hand for the day.
And if you need to create a morning routine, feel free to reach out.