I love my family, and I hope they love me – so why do they drive me bananas between 7:30am and 8:30am every day?
Breakfast, getting washed and dressed and out the door in time for school – it's not exactly rocket science, so why does it feel so tough? Why do I feel like I need a lie down the moment the last person has left the building? Who ever called it Rush Hour knew what they were talking about.
What is it about family weekday mornings that can put the desperate into housewife? How do we stop the morning madness before it strikes again?
Keep reading for five simple steps to help you make mornings a less stressful zone.
1. Perfect Your Routine
If your current morning routine isn't working, sit down in the evening and analyse it to find out what needs to change. Think your way through a typical morning – where does it all start to go pear-shaped? What would make it better? What are the most common flash points?
For me, I start to get wound up if the kids are being slow getting dressed for school. My daughter disappears into her bedroom and gets distracted by reading The Beano when she's supposed to be putting on her socks. So we changed the order of our routine, and now she gets dressed before breakfast. It's amazing how a rumbling tum can get you moving faster.
2. Get A Head Start
The school shoe that takes 30 seconds to find in the evening takes eons to find in the morning -- if you find it at all. Five minutes of planning the night before will save you half an hour of searching for stuff in the morning.
Yes I know that doing it the night before is hugely hugely dull, and not at all how you thought you'd be when you were a funky young thing. But it's not like you need to spend your evenings ironing the baby's nappy. Just spend a moment or two thinking through what you need for the next day and doing anything that can be done in advance.
3. Sleep Well
If you're finding it hard to get going in the morning, it could be about more than time management. How much sleep are you getting? Is anything keeping you awake at night? Do you eat well? How much water do you drink?
Do you have something to look forward to each day? Sometimes morning sluggishness can be the symptom of a cause that goes far deeper. If you think this is the case, talk to your partner, a friend, or your GP. Don't keep it to yourself and expect everything to get better by itself.
4. Distractions, distractions
Don't be distracted by chores in the morning. Save the Anthea-style towel folding for the evening.
Breakfast TV can suck up precious morning minutes, though you can use it to your advantage. In my house we have a rule that the TV only goes on when the kids have had their breakfast and got dressed, with the result that they tend to (sometimes) get ready reasonably quickly in order to squeeze in a few minutes' telly time.
If something has to be done, that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be done by you. Particularly with your first child, it's easy to go on doing things like dressing them in the morning when they are past the point of being able to do it themselves. Or maybe you assume that you're the only person who can make the perfect packed lunch.
Children often respond brilliantly if you give them responsibility for things, so have a go at handing out tasks. Maybe your child will end up being the one to organise you.
How does your family manage the morning mania?
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