Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Simplifying Your Morning Routine

Verse of the day:
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.  Proverbs 14:1
 I know that with kids to wake up, breakfast to eat and the pressure to not forget anything, mornings can be stressful- but they don’t have to be. When we are stressed out, we tend to be short and snippy with our kids and that's no way to start the day.

 Here are five tips to make your morning routine work for you and your family:

  1. Prepare as much as you can the night before.  This means laying out clothes, packing the diaper bag, setting the table for breakfast, etc.  The more you do the night before the less there is to stress about in the morning.  As your kids get older you can enlist their help with the evening routine as well.
  2. Set realistic expectations.  If there are mornings that you need to leave the house at a certain time (for work, appointments, school, etc.) then a gourmet breakfast is probably not the way to go.  So often we try to cram things into the morning routine that aren’t necessary and then wonder why we are stressed.  Be realistic about the time that you have and what needs to be accomplished.
  3. Have a command center.  Don’t you hate those moments when the kids can’t find their favorite toy {that they just can't leave the house without} at the last minute?  Ever had shoes or coats missing in action and you are already five minutes behind schedule?  The solution is to have a place for everything and help your family get in the habit of putting everything in its place.  We had a small table by the entryway where diaper bags, binkies, blankies and favorite toys can go.  We had three hooks by the door for coats and book bags when my boys were small and a basket for shoes.  The more accessible everything is, the easier it is to find.
  4. Menu plan.  I am an advocate for menu planning and not just dinner.  We have a menu for breakfast Monday- Friday.  My boys knew that Mondays were cereal, Tuesdays waffles, Wednesdays eggs, etc.  This makes the morning routine easier and I don’t end up feeling like a short order cook.  It also helped the boys know how to set the table for the coming day. Even a 3 or 3 year old can help set the table for breakfast the night before.  If you pack your child's lunch for daycare or preschool, have a menu plan for that as well,so you know without thinking about it, what will go in the lunchbox each morning.
  5. Reward yourself and the kids.  Initiating a new routine can be difficult until the routine becomes habit for your family.  Consider having a special reward {a dessert, an outing, etc} on the week’s that mornings run smoothly.  The only way for mornings to work is for everyone to be a team in the household.  Acknowledge when the kids have pitched in.  Thank your man for warming up the car.  Reward your family for coming together to make something work. 
The way we start our day can often impact what the rest of the day is going to be like.  Sticking to an effective routine is essential for busy young moms!

Till tomorrow,

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