Written by: Jennifer Fantich, M.A., CCC-SLP
Parents know that mornings are hectic! Some mornings are more chaotic than others, but what if there were steps to take to eliminate the craziness and make mornings more manageable? Try these easy-to-follow- steps to aid in calming your morning madness!
Planning the night before:
Simple steps can be taken the night before in order to make mornings feel a little less disordered. Though, at times, we may be too tired or may ‘not want’ to plan, a lack of planning will only reflect in a more challenging morning routine.
Try laying out clothes for yourself and your kids the night before. Pack backpacks with homework folders, assignments and any necessary clothing for the weather and leave backpacks, coats and shoes by the door. While it isn’t always possible to pack a full lunch the night before, pack/prepare what you can (snacks, packaged foods, slice cheese, veggies or fruit) in advance. Set out anything you can for breakfast (plates, bowls, utensils) and gather the things you’ll need for yourself (keys, wallet, bag, documents, breakfast, etc.) in the morning.
Use bedtime as a way to reinforce the schedule for the next day to eliminate any stress, worry or surprise. Talk to your kids as you put them to bed to tell them what the next morning will bring.
Schedule time for yourself:
No one really wants to get up early but waking up and getting yourself ready before the kids gives you the time you’ll need to make sure you aren’t rushed. Make sure to include time for your coffee/breakfast, any exercising, completion of work/email responses. This type of organization will lead to a calmer start to your day.
Try to follow the same schedule or morning routine when possible. This will help kids with expectations. With a consistent schedule there won’t (usually) be a need to explain what is happening or why it is happening, the kids will just know. They will know when they get up in the morning, they go to bathroom, brush their teeth, get dressed and eat breakfast. Kids should also know how/when they’re arriving and leaving school in the morning and afternoon.
Though it doesn’t have to be every time, kids may respond best when they are recognized or rewarded for listening and following directions. If your child consistently follows their morning routine and has extra time to spare before having to run out the door, perhaps let them indulge in listening to a favorite song, allowing them time to color/draw, let them play with a favorite toy or permit them to watch an episode of their favorite show.