Parents, Get Organized: Keep Mornings Simple and Efficient
Changes you set in motion eventually become habit and are recognized as the way things are done in your home. This makes it worth the time and effort to initiate change for morning exits.
Good information for parents
Designate a space for each family member, such as a shelf, cabinet, or basket near the morning “exit” door. Leave items there each night that you will need to get out the door in the morning.
Have a place for car and house keys, handbags, brief cases. Put them there every night before bed.
Explain that work/school mornings are days for simple breakfasts and lunches. Save time-consuming breakfasts and special meals for the more relaxed days of the weekend.
Let your elementary school child choose her own alarm clock or clock radio. Make it a big deal so she is pleased to have this grown-up responsibility.
Some parents set clocks ahead by ten minutes to stay on time in the morning. Since this only works for a short while–until you get used to it–we think it is a waste of time.
Toddlers can be independent, too, if their morning is organized in advance. Make posters that include pictures of all the things he/she should do, preferably in order. Use one for poster for night activities and one for morning activities. This helps all children become more independent as they master their morning and bedtime routines on their own.
For those wretched mornings when someone oversleeps, have breakfast items like muffins, granola bars, or cereal ready in a plastic bag that can be eaten in the car.
Make your own check list of what needs to be done each night and morning. Post it in a convenient place like the refrigerator.
The Night Before
Quiz your child and check the calendar before bedtime in case your child has special needs for the next day such as permission for a field trip or special clothing or snacks.
Pack all the items you can which your family needs for work, school, or daycare. Load the car or place as much as possible such as coats, bags, and lunch boxes by the “exit” door.
Pack lunches and refrigerate sandwiches. For some parents this is easier to do while making dinner.
Place a note near the “exit’ door to remind you to include refrigerated items in the lunch boxes. The same note will do each time–just be sure to move it to the refrigerator in between trips. This makes it new each morning so it does not become an overlooked habit.
Check the weather report to plan clothing and outerwear for the next day.
Choose your own outfit for the morning, and take five minutes to lay out your clothes the night before to make dressing hassle-free.
Deciding what to serve for breakfast avoids early morning debates. At night, ask each child what they want for a simple breakfast so you can prepare that while they are dressing.
For each child, fill and place a glass or sippy-cup of soy milk or juice on a lower shelf of the fridge before bedtime. Your children can help themselves in the morning.
If you’re a coffee drinker, prepare your coffee pot and even set out a travel mug if you use them. Buying a coffee pot with a timer is nice!
Children Can Help
Have your child pick out the clothes he/she wants to wear the night before, or lay out two outfits for him/her and allow a choice the next morning.
Clearing the table from dinner, then setting the breakfast table, are great tasks for your preschooler or older child.
Have your older children bathe at night and bathe younger children yourself before bed.
Older children can take turns preparing breakfast for the family while you dress or do other chores.
Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.