Starting with a huge Happy New Year to everyone and wishing you all a fabulous year ahead! I gather most of us who are parents are on that final countdown to the children going back to school and are most probably all saying to ourselves “right I’m really going to start getting more organised in the mornings as soon as they start back”. It’s one of the most popular resolutions for the New Year getting organised and something we say to ourselves many a time throughout the year as well. Being a mum of 3 I know all too well how hectic a school morning can be. Last September my middle child started reception and my eldest started high school two really big mile stones and two rather big shocks to the system. It was then I realised calm and organised is the only way I have to be in order to leave the house with all that we need, on time and with my sanity in tact. My mornings still contain such a huge number of tasks, I still have to leave the house by 8.25am sharp but the difference I’ve found since last year is my mornings are now much more relaxed, happy and flow with minimal stress. I have really thought hard of all the ways in which I have altered my routine for the better to share with you. Some may seem self explanatory and quite simple but this is what has really started to work for me.
Start the night before
Obvious one to start with you may say but it surprising how often people don’t actually do this and then majorly regret it the following day, I know I was the same. Pack the lunches, lay out or at the least plan clothes for the morning, prepare as much as you can for what you are sure you will need the next day. Double check the night before there aren’t any letters from school you need to sign and return to the teacher, there’s nothing worse than running round in search of a pen, resulting in scribbling your name with a wax crayon on your way out the door, yes I have done this. Is it a non-school uniform day you forgot about? did they finish all their homework? basically make yourself aware of anything you must prepare for. My eldest son in the past would literally almost always leave it until we are heading out the door before announcing “oh yeah mum, we need to take in a donation to the food bank today”, or my least favourite mid way through the porch “oh we have to take cakes in for a charity cake sale this morning”. At least if this is thrown on me the night before our local Tesco is open until midnight! I also set up a load of washing in the machine ready to switch on first thing in the morning and I leave everywhere tidy before going to bed.
Get up as early as possible
I am up by 6am every morning, earlier on workout days and even on weekends if we want to get out the house early. My children usually naturally wake around 7am so this gives me a full hour to press the button on that load of washing, do a bit of cleaning, get myself ready for the day and set up the breakfast things for when they get out of bed. If I were to lie in bed until my little sweethearts awoke it would be absolute chaos and I prefer a calm, positive environment to start the day. So definitely getting up earlier than the rest of the household allows me the time to leisurely get on with my tasks and gives me some ‘me’ time to wake up positively and productively. Starting each day this way equals me calm and under control and my children do sense this, so I find in turn this reflects back in their behaviour, which on the whole is very good in the morning.
Get the children dressed as soon as they wake up
Now I can imagine not everyone will be fond of this idea for fear of drips down pinafores, spills on trousers, but honestly on the whole this works best for me. I find this as it’s out of the way immediately and they are much more alert immediately. I found when I used to let them sit around in their pyjamas on a school morning while I ran around, my children were far lazier and less motivated resulting in a long slog rounding them up and eventually getting them dressed in a mad panic. Now they are up and clothed before they have chance to think about it and this ticks off one of the main tasks of the morning there and then.
Everyone enjoys breakfast together and eats the same
Not only does this count as good family time well spent altogether before we part ways for the day but seriously have you tried doing three separate breakfasts (four including my own) on three separate occasions throughout the morning? It literally takes up half the time you have. My daughter would ask for porridge but “not yet in a bit mummy”, my youngest would favour Shreddies and my eldest would stroll down much later than everyone else and opt for an omelette. Back and forth I would be to the kitchen, time running away with me, enough was enough. Now every task is done altogether, simultaneously then not only are we organised and structured but we are all spending time together, helping each other and enjoying conversing with each other in a positive way.
Turn tasks into small games and challenges
I can often be heard declaring “whoever gets dressed the fastest gets 10 points!” We don’t even keep points, I just randomly say it and it somehow works! Or my children like to hear the story of Goldilocks and the three bears whilst they eat their porridge. Announcing winners at each stage, rotating the winner so there are no strops and praising them often in the morning goes a long way with them when I have a list as long as my arm and it needs completing in record time, trust me.
Do everything straight away
If all school morning tasks are done and dusted straight away my children then have some free time to do what they please, see I’m not all ‘no flavour, no fun’. Often they will go into the playroom and play or watch Milkshake whilst I hang out the washing load and tidy away all the dishes. I like to leave the house in the morning with everything in its rightful place, so I complete everything that needs to be done straight away too, so I can come home to a organised home.
What I have learned is my children react really well to praise especially in the morning when I need them to be most responsive. If I were to whack their light on and shout for them to hurry, throw out their breakfast and rush them along, I would sure be greeted with a great big strop and a mammoth battle on my hands. So by following this slightly more structured way in the mornings I have happier, calm and positive children skipping out the door with smiles on their faces excited for school….. ok I may of exaggerated that final bit 😉
There must be many more tips and tricks, do you have any to share that help your morning run much smoother? Comment below.
Thanks for your time ✨