Morning chaos. We have all been there. Forgotten lunches or sports equipment, missing shoes or keys, a toddler who is refusing to eat that healthy meal that you prepared. A preschooler who can’t make up his mind about what he wants to wear but is insisting on wearing shorts in sub-zero temperatures... you somehow get everyone into the car, with a mixture of threats and bribery. Two blocks down you realize you left your children’s lunches on the kitchen counter... You hastily drop off children and make a mad dash for work.
In a study conducted by Ohio State University in 2011 it was found that mood on arrival at work didn’t change much throughout the course of the day. If you clocked in calm and happy you were likely to have a productive day where you cope better with setbacks or problems. A negative mood however, would likely get worse and could really spiral as you dealt with the stresses of your day. The study found that morning mood could affect your entire day.
Let’s face it, sometimes we will just have a bad morning, no matter how much we plan, but here are our top tricks and tips to ensure we can balance getting enough sleep with getting out of the door on time.
A LITTLE PREPARATION GOES A LONG WAY
- Pack lunches the night before. If they cannot be packed straight into a bags and backpacks, leave a reminder on the door or with your car keys. For younger children (that won’t close the backpack themselves) leave the backpack open as visual reminder to yourself. There is nothing worse than that nutritious and delicious lunch you packed sitting in the fridge all day because you forgot it in the morning rush.
- Set out clothes the night before. If you have a child who is likely to refuse to wear what you have picked out for them, make it a task you do together before bed.
- Check the weather but have a cold weather option.
- Give younger children choices between two options so that they feel like they have chosen their own clothes.
- Check communication logs, homework books, fill out permission slips and if your child’s caregiver or teacher has asked you to send anything, pack it now. Let children take some responsibility for this as they get older.
- Leave backpacks and shoes by the door, knowing that they are completely ready to go.
READY, SET, GO...
- Wake your child gently by letting light into the room, or with gentle touch and talking. Smile and show your happiness at seeing them but don’t overwhelm them with noise and light. Visit our homepage to see how Tick Tock Turtle’s wake light and sleep cycle alarm can help wake your child up in a more refreshed happier state every morning.
- Do things in the same order every morning so that your children know what to expect. Don’t plan any extra chores for the morning unless you plan on getting up early
- Encourage independence by using a morning checklist to let them do some tasks for themselves. These can involve simple pictures if your child can’t read yet. By 4-5 years of age most children can dress themselves
- If you are able to, take shifts. Mom supervises dressing, hair brushing and bed making while Dad showers. Dad supervises breakfast while Mom gets ready.
- Any good parent knows the importance of a healthy breakfast but the morning rush is not the time for food fights. Offer your children food they will eat without fuss. If they are not very hungry in the morning or insist on eating Rice Crispies every morning ‘pimp’ their breakfast. Add nuts, seeds and fruit. Or try smoothies or milkshakes. With a bit of experimenting (on weekends) you will be sure to find a blend that your child loves. But ultimately some food in their tummy is better than none, and you will be able to leave the house safe in the knowledge that you packed them a healthy lunch the night before.
- Do as much breakfast prep as you can the night before, you’ll be glad you did when you can hit the snooze button for an extra five minutes
- Set an alarm for ten minutes before you need to leave the house so that you are not caught out. Time can unexpectedly run away when trying to get young children ready. If you are running late at this point there is still enough time turn breakfast into a takeaway and get out of the door on time.
With a bit of planning and a consistent morning routine, you should be able to limit morning struggles as much as possible. And good mornings, lead to good days...