GETTING OUT OF THE DOOR ON TIME
What is it like at your house in the morning? Are you struggling to get the children up and ready for school or child care? Are your mornings chaotic, rushed and confusing? Here are 10 helpful hints to make you mornings calmer and more organized.
1. Prepare what your child is going to wear. No more tears because they can’t find their favorite shirt or sneakers for gym. Even toddlers can be stubborn and picky when it comes to choosing their clothes for the day. Allow the child to pick out what they want to wear the night before. This allows you the time to make sure the clothes are clean, ironed and ready for the child in the morning. Make sure you find both shoes the night before. Nothing ruins a schedule more than scrambling to find the one missing shoe!
Lay out the clothes the child picked along with clean underwear and socks.
2. Pack your school age child’s backpack the night before. Make sure your child has their homework and all assignments finished and packed. Sign any permission slips or notes the night before and pack them in the backpack. Pack your younger child’s diaper bag with diapers, change of clothes and anything else that needs to go with your child to child care.
If your child care provider requests boots, mittens, hats etc. for outside play in winter, or bathing suits and towels for summer play, make sure they are packed, and in the diaper bag the night before. Have a box or designated area for your child to keep homework, permission slips etc. so they are easy to find when packing their bag.
3. Put together all the ingredients for lunch and snack the night before. You don’t want to find out you are out of bread in the morning when you need to make sandwiches. Let your child pick out their snack the night before. This will save a lot of time in the morning.
4. Children thrive on familiar routines. Put a routine in place at bedtime and when they get up in the morning which includes the above suggestions. Make sure that bedtime and morning routines such as brushing teeth, washing, combing hair, etc. are part of the routine.
5. Often morning routines are delayed because you can’t get the children out of bed. Making sure that the children get a good night sleep will help in getting them awake in the morning. Music can help to get your children up. Find a happy song and start playing it when it is time for them to wake up. Music and singing can set the tone for your day and the children’s.
6. Prepare as much as you can for breakfast. Instead of trying to please each child with multiple choices for your children (pancakes, waffles, cereal, muffins, eggs, etc), serve one item each day.
For example: You can have a regular routine such as Monday, waffles; Tuesday, cereal and bagels; Wednesday, eggs; etc. This saves time and children are familiar with routine.
Cut up fresh fruit the night before and allow the children to help themselves.
7. An unexpected emergency can happen at any time.
For example: Children often spill milk or juice, usually at the last minute when you are in a rush. Build time into the schedule, 10 or 15 minutes, to handle anything that might go wrong.
8. Don’t forget to organize yourself. Get your personal items ready for the day the night before. You don’t want to be scrambling to find your car keys or your purse when the children are all dressed ready to go.
9. Include the children in planning where items should be kept in preparation for the next day. Backpacks, diaper bags, hats, coats, mittens, shoes or boots should all have a designated spot and you need to enlist the cooperation of the children to make sure they put their items in the proper place.
10. Use charts to help your children remember all their bedtime and morning routines.