The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
Over the holiday break, my family and I moved to a new home. It wasn’t a big move- just across town- and the kids will all still go to the same schools, play in the same sports clubs, etc. But the very act of packing up everything that you own into boxes and moving it to a new place completely disrupts your life! And at the moment- it feels as if it may be a very long time until I feel truly “organized” again. My kitchen command center looks like this right now:
And my “office” like this:
And I haven’t even been able to find my menu planning board yet….sigh….(wish that I knew where I packed it!)
But what is saving my sanity at this chaotic time- are my family routines. My kids know exactly what they need to do in the mornings to get up, get dressed, have breakfast, brush their teeth and make it out the door in time to meet the bus. In the afternoon, they know our routine of unpacking their backpacks, grabbing a snack, taking a break to relax and then tackling homework. And in the evening, they know when it is time to shower, brush their teeth, clean up their rooms, and get ready for bed. These routines are helping my family to function- even when the rest of our life seems so out-of-control right now.
I created this video last Fall on how to put together a morning routine, as part of my Momof6 “How to Organize Your Life” Series:
Here’s a few more tips on how to create a morning routine for your family:
As they say on airplanes…. “Put your own mask on first!”
A sure-fire way to amp up the stress level is to try to multitask while you are helping your kids get ready for school. So this means that you need to take care of yourself first… BEFORE it is time to help them. For me, that means setting the alarm for 5:15 a.m. (and making sure that I stop slamming down the snooze button by 5:30 a.m.). That gives me enough time to shower, get dressed, dry my hair, put on makeup, and sneak a check at my email and blog before I need to start serving breakfast to my middle-schoolers at 6:15 a.m.
Get the kids up early enough
Pick an absolute-get-out-of-bed time for the kids that gives them enough time for them to get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast, brush their teeth, comb hair, put on cold weather gear, and get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is due to arrive. Then add a 5-10 minute cushion to allow for things that go awry – like when your son dribbles toothpaste down the front of his shirt and has to change clothes. It also allows a little time for the inevitable “find the missing left shoe” treasure hunt game.
Pick out clothes the night before
I found some inexpensive canvas bins at the dollar store. These are placed on the closet floor in each child’s bedroom. In that bin, I have piled up the week’s worth of outfits. I do this each Sunday night. For my daughters (who each brandish an opinion), they help me with the clothing selection process…but since it is all done on Sunday, we need to only engage in the clothing battle once a week. (Yes!)
Once the kids get up, they know where to find their clothes, and they can get dressed on their own. No asking me what they should wear, no coming downstairs with strange shirt and pant combinations of questionable cleanliness. Easy and done.
Have backpacks (nearly) ready to go
Ideally, all backpacks should be packed up and ready to go the night before and set by the front door before bed. In reality, that system doesn’t completely work for us. My older children often finish up homework at their desks in their room in the evening while I am putting the younger ones to bed. Or someone will want to review their spelling words one last time over breakfast. Not to mention, on any given day, I usually have several lunches to pack for those that have turned their noses up at the school hot lunch menu.
So at the very least, there should be one designated area in your home where everything that needs to go to school should reside (at our house, that’s known as the kitchen counter). Then, in the morning, while I am finishing up making lunches, I can easily gather up the stray homework assignment, library book, etc. and help my children get it all packed up in plenty of time to head for the bus stop.
Remember, they are still kids, and kids WILL be silly
It can be so frustrating when you are trying to herd the crew through the morning routine, and all they want to do is to act like goofballs and belt out the dialogue from last night’s Good Luck Charlie episode. And that’s when it is so easy for your exasperation at their silliness to send you over the edge — and for you to start yelling at all of them to “Sit down, hurry up, and EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!!!” It’s far better to remind yourself that there WILL be morning silliness, and build in a little extra time for it than to be fighting a losing battle — against them and the clock!
Do you use a morning routine in your home? I would love to hear what works for you!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter (@sharonmomof6), and Pinterest!