Fine, one day I am going to stop complaining about rising at the crack of dawn to get to kindergarten on time. #schoolmomlife But probably not until next summer, so bear with me. I have discovered that we are the slowest moving of all the creatures before the 8am hour, so I have had to make some serious changes.
I grew up in a house with four kids and a few of us hated mornings. I won’t mention any names, but someone once threw a mascara tube at my mother for talking to her in the morning. Shame. I know, I am being paid back and I am very sorry mom. We were late a lot and getting out the door in the morning meant there was usually some screaming, fighting and rushing around frantically. My poor mom, it wasn’t fun to start the day that way and I want our household to have some peace in the mornings.
The changes we’ve made start the night before and I have had to implement some rigid routines so that everyone understands what has to happen every single school day. I have to brag now, we have not been late one day in the first month of school! Holla! I feel like I might be winning this mom game, right up until I step in a puddle of toddler pee in my kitchen, we’re also potty training. At least I’m getting one thing right though and it starts with a little evaluation and the following morning routine ideas!
First, you must know yourself and your child and have a plan in place to utilize and accommodate each of your strengths and weaknesses. For my little yellow sunshine boy, I know he needs super quiet when he first wakes up. He doesn’t do well with someone in his face barking orders or rushing him first thing. He needs a slow transition into the day.
I need a second to myself too before I can be sensitive to someone else’s needs. I need a minute to wake up and adapt to the morning. Knowing this about each of us, we did some trial runs before school started to see what works best for our family.
We prepare the night before by having everything ready for the next day before we go to bed. My Sunshine doesn’t give me too much trouble about what he wears, but to eliminate the chance for arguing and to teach him responsibility, we have him pick out his clothes for the next day including underwear, socks, and shoes and set them at his morning station.
We have various stations all over the house and always have; it’s my very best mom hack. His morning station is a simple side table the rest of the time, but weekdays, it is his command center. His backpack is there and it’s where I put his lunch box when it’s done. Everything he needs for school is ready to go.
BATMAN ALARM CLOCK
One of the things we learned with our pre-kindergarten practice mornings, was that my son is not impressed with me waking him up. My Sunshine did not like any tactic I tried to wake him, so I got on Amazon and let him pick out his own alarm clock.
He chose a giant Batman alarm clock and it has been a godsend. When Batman starts beeping at 6:40am, My Sunshine hits his head to turn him off and jumps out of bed to come find me. This has been a much better option for us, after all, who can argue with Batman?
For the past five and a half years, I have been woken up by one of my tiny humans. It’s my very most favorite way to start the day. But we have found that if I am still in bed and My Sunshine wakes me up, we snuggle in together and it makes it extremely hard to get moving.
So I set my alarm for ten minutes before his. I can lay in bed for a few minutes, stretch and procrastinate, then for the first time in years, I pee without an audience in the morning. I get to the kitchen, turn on lights, put the coffee on and start making his lunch. About that time, he comes rolling into the day with a bedhead full of yellow yawns. My favorite sight in the morning. Those ten extra minutes give me just enough time to myself to be ready to get him in gear.
My son needs a transition time, he needs a quiet place to wake up and get moving on his own. I set his alarm a little early to give him that luxury and we all benefit from this practice. He is allowed to watch one show when he wakes up. We implemented this routine right away so he is accustom to what he needs to do and is ready when my directives start.
I give him a little time before I ask anything of him, but he knows that first thing, he grabs his clothes from his station and starts dressing while he watches TV. After he’s dressed and has a few minutes, we’ll talk breakfast which many times we have decided on the night before. He finishes his show while he eats.
As soon as the show is over, he turns off the TV and makes his way to the bathroom to brush his hair and teeth. I start the car and load up my purse, coffee, and sippy for the groggy toddler I am transferring from bed to car seat.
Because I don’t rush him, because he knows the routine and has cues to get through each step, the only thing I have to do is get breakfast and give reminders of how much time he has. The routine has been a life saver to keep him on track and to eliminate the need for me to give all the instructions. When I gave him responsibility, he excelled.
Your needs may be different. You may have a child that pops out of bed for the day and only needs 10 minutes to get ready. You may have a child who will not get up on their own or throws mascara at you. Either way, evaluate what your needs are first because you mama, set the tone for your home. If you are grumpy, rushed, frantic or unprepared, your children are going to be.
Do some trial and error to find out what works best for your babe, then stick with a plan. Turn your plan into a daily routine and do the same thing every day until they can walk through the steps without your help. It takes some time to set your expectations. More than once I had to turn the TV off so that my son would understand he had to dress and eat while he watched or there would be no TV.
Be prepared and eliminate as much of the decisions the night before as possible. Give your child as much responsibility as they will respond to and respect their morning needs. If they need quiet, accommodate that within reason. If they need extra time in the morning, wake them up earlier. If they need more sleep, make bedtime a non-negotiable priority.
Use these ideas to evaluate your own family. Plan peaceful, productive mornings for yourself and your kiddos. Teach your children the importance of starting out the day relaxed and ready to succeed. Set the example of creating the environment they need to be successful.
For the rest of their lives, our children are going to need to utilize their strengths and make the best of their weaknesses. Creating the right morning routine based on their personality does this. It also teaches them to work with others towards a common goal. Have them help you create the routine, ask them for their opinions and desires for the morning. Give them responsibility and watch them with pride as they rise to the challenge. #mamaroar #welldone