Susan here with ten strategies to help your family create a happier morning routine to get kids ready for school and there on time. I’m sharing my thoughts here as part of the #HowWeFamily TYLENOL® campaign which is about empowering families of all shapes and sizes.
When you’re trying to tackle morning routines — especially in the back-to-school season — you need to figure out what works best for YOUR family.
Set realistic expectations for yourself and your kids. If you don’t have the time and patience to craft elaborate bento boxes with food shaped like animals, that’s okay. I LOVE to pin those awesome lunch box layouts, but I’m not actually making them. (Pinterest is for dreaming, right?)
I know some moms who actually get their kids to do extra math practice before breakfast… but that is NOT likely to happen at our house. I like to sleep as late as possible while still accomplishing everything necessary to get the kids out the door on time.
I have two main goals for school mornings:
- Keep mornings happy.
I admit, I’m NOT a morning person.
So one of my main goals on school mornings is to keep myself and my kids happy and in a good mood as we get out the door.
When I keep our morning routine simple and follow the tips below, I don’t start nagging — or even worse — yelling.
- Don’t be late for school.
I also admit, I tend to be a late person by nature.
The way I ensure I get to places on time is to plan to get ready super early. Then I’m late for being early, but still on time.
My oldest daughter is going in to grade 5, and I’m proud to say, she’s never been late for school. (If you’re reading this post and mistaking me for my co-blogging twin sister Janice… that would NOT be the case. LOL. Her son is very familiar with late slips. But this is Susan here. I actually also walk Janice’s daughter Olivia to school most days, so she’s usually on time.)
To reach both my school morning goals, I have to make sure we have enough time to get everything done and I have to stay calm throughout the routine. (For me, the latter is the biggest challenge.)
Here are 10 tips to help you have happier mornings that end with kids at school before the bell rings…
- Get as much done the night before as you can.
Before bedtime, I try to have my girls lay out their clothes and add a few items to their lunch boxes.
- Wake up before your kids.
When I get up before my kids, the morning runs smoother. If I can get a 10 minute head start to make lunches before they come downstairs, everyone is happier.
- Gently wake up your kids with a smile and maybe a snuggle.
My mom says that when I was a child, I always greeted her with a “morning smile”. So she’d come in my room and say, “Good morning. Where’s my morning smile?”
I can still hear her voice saying it and feel my cheeks rise in a smile with the memory. (Funny note… she did NOT ask Janice for a morning smile as she was unlikely to get one. Janice would gradually wake up once I was awake.)
- Get enough sleep!
Going to bed on time – both you and your kids – will make waking up a much happier time. If my girls get enough sleep, I don’t usually even have to wake them. They’ll naturally wake around the correct time.
- Keep the schedule simple and consistent.
If a structured routine helps your kids get motivated and move faster, then consider using a printable checklist.
- Make breakfast simple, healthy and something you know your kids enjoy.
Most mornings, we have cold cereal and sometimes a smoothie made with yogurt, milk and frozen fruit.
If they skip the smoothie, I like to make their cereal more filling by adding banana slices on top.
I try not to purchase “kids cereals” that have extra sugar. Most regular cereal already has enough sugar that kids think they are sweet anyway.
Allow time for you to eat too. (Even if you must eat it while making lunches.)
- Have backpacks packed with shoes and coats ready and by the door.
Around here we also make sure rain boots and umbrellas are close by.
- Let a clock do the nagging.
Sometimes it’s easier to let a timer be the reminder.
Depending on how old your children are, you might want to give them a clock or their own watch. If they have smartphones, you could have them set a daily alarm to let them know when they need to be out the door.
- Walk to school (or carpool) with friends (or cousins).
It helps motivate everyone to get out the door on time if they’re meeting a friend on the way.
We pick up cousin Olivia on the way to school and walk together.
- Wear Your Workout Clothes.
If you can, walk your kids to school in your workout gear. Then head straight for a power walk or to the gym.
Getting some exercise right away will help you de-stress from your morning rush and ensure you take time for yourself before you get lost in your to-do list.
So many of the moms at our school are dressed in their workout clothes at morning drop off. I’m going to try really hard this year to make sure I sneak in some exercise after the bell rings each day.
I confess that I don’t always follow all these steps myself.
But the key is to pick what works for you and then just do your best. Some mornings I don’t stay calm. Sometimes the backpacks aren’t packed the night before. Sometimes we haven’t had enough sleep. Some mornings just don’t run smoothly.
Be kind to yourself and your kids. Simply do your best and try to keep it happier and smoother the next day.
And do what I do… plan to be really early and if you’re late, you’ll be right on time.
How Does Your Family Do “School Mornings”?
What is your family’s morning routine? Do you follow a set schedule? Are mornings a happy or stressful time for you?
Every family is different and blessed in unique ways.
TYLENOL® and I would love to hear about your family — and your school morning routines.
Join us by tweeting, posting or sharing a photo or video of what represents your family love and pride using the #HowWeFamily hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. You can also visit their website to learn more about this great campaign and see other #HowWeFamily stories.
TYLENOL®, a brand with a rich heritage in serving families, is celebrating all the ways that people family today through the #HowWeFamily campaign.
#HowWeFamily is a platform to empower all families – regardless of shape, size or makeup – to proclaim what makes their family unique, and in turn, proud. Through #HowWeFamily, TYLENOL® hopes to show that despite our differences, families today share the same fundamental values.
Disclosure: I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.
Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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