March 27, 2017

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Morning Run Smoothly

Feb15

As a busy Mom of 6 young kids, I know that it can be a real challenge to get your kids out of bed, fed a hot and healthy breakfast, and have them ready to face the day in a calm fashion (think beauty without the bedlam!)

This time of year many of us have good intentions to become more organized and to find better ways to do things at home. I firmly believe that having family routines in place can help everyone in the family to understand what is expected of them during certain periods of the day and how each person can work to meet those expectations. So let’s look at 5 simple things that you can incorporate into your morning routine to help get your day off to a great start!

#1- Plan ahead

I am sure that you have heard this advice somewhere before… but one of the best ways to hit the ground running in the morning is to spend a few moments in preparation the night before. At our home, every Sunday evening I help the kids select their outfits for the next 5 days, and I place them into these great hanging bins for the girls, or into these mesh bins for the boys, which sit on the floor of their closet.

When they wake up each morning, they know to head to their bins and get dressed before they come downstairs for breakfast. No more trying on 14 outfits and leaving the discard pile on the floor for Mom to discover later!

For kids headed out to school, it helps to plan ahead what you are going to pack for lunch and prep as much of that ahead of time as possible. Gather homework and return it to its proper school folder and have that loaded into the kids backpacks. Make sure that you have any permission slips signed and put into the folders, and load up library books and any other supplies for special school activities. Anything that can be done the night before- should be!

#2- In the morning, get yourself ready first

I know that any time I am multi-tasking in the morning while trying to get the kids ready it just amps up my stress level. So rather than trying to blow dry my hair while simultaneously nudging the little ones along to get dressed, I set my alarm for 45 minutes earlier than the time that I need to wake up the first child. That gives me time to shower and get ready, make a cup of tea and perhaps check my email and blog before sleepy faces are looking towards me for some help.

#3- Work out a timeline of activity

In order for your morning to run smoothly, you need to know what your end-goal is and then work backwards to figure out what your morning timeline needs to be. At our house, working backwards through our timeline (at least for our 5 elementary schoolers) looks like this:

  • 8:25am- School bus arrives at the bus stop
  • 8:20am- Our family arrives at the bus stop
  • 8:15am- Load everyone into the car, and allow for a few minutes for kids to run back into the house to retrieve any forgotten items, such as mittens or a band instrument
  • 8:00am- Clear the breakfast dishes and begin teeth brushing, hair combing, getting shoes and coats on
  • 7:45am- The last of the hot breakfast items must be served
  • 7:30am- All kids need to be at the breakfast table and start helping to prepare their breakfast or place their request for hot items such as eggs or pancakes
  • 7:15am- Wake up time- hop out of bed, use the bathroom, and get dressed

Once you know your timeline, keep an eye on the clock throughout your morning so you know when to hurry kids along to the next step in your morning process.

#4- Help kids to be self-sufficient

We have set up tooth-brushing stations in two of our bathrooms so that they kids can find their toothbrush, flossers, toothpaste and get themselves started.

I’ll allow the younger ones to brush first before I do a “double check” to make sure that they have done a thorough job. This is also where I will do a final hair combing/styling and make sure that faces are clean before they are off to begin their day.

The kids each have a shoe bin and a hook for their coats. Having these areas helps them to be able to get ready on their own and makes them accountable for returning items to their proper places each afternoon after school (and helps to avoid the “let’s all hunt for the lost shoe” game at 8:15 each morning!).

#5 Expect a little silliness

But even with all of these simple routines in place, one of the biggest keys to having a smooth morning is to keep your patience and sense of humor with you at all times. These are still kids- and they need time to” get out their sillies” before heading off to school for the day. In our house that might mean re-enacting the dialogue from their favorite TV show over and over again while they eat. Yes, it might drive me a little crazy- but better here than during math class, right?

What are some of the ways you make your morning run more smoothly?

 My name is Sharon and I am the busy Mom of six children ages 11, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 6. People often ask me “How do you do it?”, so I created Momof6 – a place where I share all of my tips on organizing your home, your schedule, your household routines, and your busy life!

 


Comments

  1. Our two steadfast rules in the mornings: No TV and No video games. As long as electronics are off I have everyone’s full attention and we can move much more quickly!!!

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Pam@behealthybehappywellness, Oh Pam- you are SO right! No TV or electronics in the morning ever! I just can’t compete!

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    Eliz Reply:

    @Pam@behealthybehappywellness, We have that rule too, it’s super successful! Nothing with a screen in the morning: TV games, computer, phone.

    Lucky we have time to eat, get dressed and go, the other stuff doesn’t help!

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  2. This concept works for 1 just as well as it works for 6. The more planning & prep I get done the night before (ironing clothes, packing lunch), the smoother my morning goes. If I get home late at night & head right to bed without getting anything ready for the next day, I’m usually doomed. Thanks for sharing your ideas. It’s a good motivator for me; if you can do it with 6, surely I can do it for 1!

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Jean, You’re right- the ideas will work if you have 1 or if you have 26! The more that you can get accomplished the night before, the smoother your morning will go!

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  3. Love this post! Lots of helpful info. As an older “been-there” Mom, I’d add that portable breakfasts have been a life-saver, especially with teens. I keep granola bars and boxes of raisins in the front console of my van. I also have “quickie hot-bites” such as whole wheat chicken/cheese pita triangles or warmed over veggie pizza that can be popped in microwave for one minute. I bag fruit slices or grapes ahead in individual baggies. Wrap warm ‘hot-bite’ in paper towel, grab bag of grapes and everyone is out-the-door!

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Marcia, Great tip Marcia! I have definitely done the van-snack stock up thing for after school activities, but I haven’t tried it yet for those running-late mornings! And why is that we ask our older kids to get going even earlier than our younger kids? If you ask me, the school starting times are completely switched around!

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  4. Great thoughts! and I love the tip on picking out clothes for the whole week. That would save loads of time in the mornings, but also in the evenings (when I try to do it, but then usually don’t!) My one problem is my kids are EARLY risers. I desperately need to get up before them to have some quiet time and put myself in the proper mood, but that rarely happens.

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Kristine, I hear you Kristine! My youngest kids are early risers too… waaayyy earlier than I want them to be! So the only way to combat being caught unprepared is to rise even earlier than they do!

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  5. Wow! Great post! I always feel like I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off in the morning. I already to try and get a few things ready at night, but I am loving all of the tips here!
    Thanks for this!
    xo
    -Lisa

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Lisa, Glad to hear that this might help with your headless-chicken status! 🙂

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  6. Great post – even though we do not have to be out of the house most mornings because we home school, there are days when we do and having a routine is super helpful. I often fail at getting myself ready first, so I’ll definitely use that tip. I’m usually doing everyone’s hair and neglect my own!
    Even though we are at home, I like to keep things ticking along so we have a schedule for the morning with chores/breakfast and devotionals. They make their beds, get dressed and bring their laundry before leaving their rooms, then they take care of the pets and have breakfast and devotionals. If we can start class work by 9 sharp it’s a good day. My biggest trouble lately is keeping them from READING before school – which is kind of crazy, because what mother wants to discourage reading anytime ???

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    Sharon at Momof6 Reply:

    @Heather, Ha ha ha Heather- on trying to get them to NOT read before school! And even if your schedule leads to home schooling rather than getting kids on the bus… you still need to come up with a morning routine that works for you and your family (and allows you to do your own hair on most days!) 🙂

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    Heather Reply:

    @Sharon at Momof6, It’s terrible to be threatening to take away reading privileges when it took 4 years for our son to learn how to read, but I give them one reminder that they can read to their heart’s content when schoolwork is complete and if they don’t put a bookmark in it, they loose it for the day! Yesterday our daughter almost lost her piano practice ‘privileges’ because she wasn’t done her school work and was going for a second hour of practice! Something is not right there – I remember bribing her to practice!
    I am really going to take your advice and completely get myself together – including my hair – first. I always shower, dress and have my quiet time, but I leave my hair and it’s not a pretty sight!

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  7. When my kids were small (they are now 33 andf 29) I got up an hour before they did so I was ready plus it gave me some “me” time since I was a single mom. I was lucky in that the public school my girls attended required that they wear uniforms through middle school. It was so much easier to get dressed in the morning – they knew what they could wear and there was no hassles about something not “being appropriate”! LOVED IT! I was an elementary school teacher, but my kids only went to “my” school once each – my youngest in kindergarten and my oldest when I taught middle school – which really worked well for us – even though I was in education they were not “under my wing” and the drive to “my” school allowed me time to get ready for my day and to decompress at the end of the day. You are so right – the more you can have ready early (I fixed all our breakfasts on the weekend so we could warm them up in the microwave – muffins, waffles, pancakes, even eggs!) the easier your morning will go!

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  8. we established a routine when our third was born that is still in place. i knew that if i wanted to go to the grocery or run another errand while we were dropping the older two off at school that the baby needed to be nursed before leaving home. we started getting up earlier (we eat eggs one morning and oatmeal the next) and while i was fixing breakfast the children pack their lunches. all other school related stuff (permission slips, homework signed) was done the night before. thirty minutes before we had to leave they were completely ready and all i needed to do was nurse and change the baby ~ as a reward for cooperating they were allowed to watch clifford the big red dog before school. while we have since moved past the clifford stage for the older two, they still have the freedom to read, shoot baskets in the driveway or simply play with their younger sister before leaving for school. i like the fact that the last image of mom is not me yelling *get your shoes and get in the car* with a scowl on my face. now we do have our mornings when we are running behind but with that built in 30 minutes (which is now a habit) even lateness is managable.

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