By the time I get to work some mornings, I feel like I have already had my days full of chaos. As I take a sip of coffee and settle in at my desk, I often wish I could make my mornings smoother. I have been keeping a list of the things that tend to cause stress with two little ones and our morning routine and am doing my best to tackle them! Here are some things I’m trying to do on a regular basis.
- Outfits picked out the night before. This goes even for my 20 month old. It’s really more about organizing myself so that I am not deciding on what to put her in last minute. My four year old can (though note, this doesn’t mean he always does) dress himself and I have found it much easier if he picks it out the night before.
- Breakfast ready to roll. My kids are not given a piping hot balanced breakfast seven mornings a week. The truth is, sometimes it’s a sippy cup of milk along with dry cheerios and fruit…to be eaten in the car on the way to daycare. The trick is to have this all ready the night before so it’s a matter of seconds to grab it and go. This also ensures your kitchen isn’t a disaster when you walk back through the door after a long day…but you do have to remember to bring in the Tupperware from the car!
- Stuff in the car, then the kids. My kids are little so I am at that “arms always too full” stage. I find that I end up forgetting things a lot of mornings because I try to make it out of the house in one trip. This doesn’t work. Each evening, I load the car with things I need the next day (yes, this might include little Tupperwares of cheerios (don’t worry, I keep the milk in the fridge). Daycare bags with sheets, notes for the teacher…whatever non perishable thing it is, it goes in the car. My purse, lunch and sippy cups are then put in the car the morning of and ready to roll prior to me filing the kids in the car.
- Wake up on time– Well isn’t this one just so much easier said than done? However, it is amazing how calm I feel on the days I wake up and get myself ready before dealing with the kids versus the days I try to do all at once.
- Pack lunches the night before– Daycare provides my kids snacks and lunches so I am lucky there. If I don’t have snacks and a lunch packed the night before, it’s guaranteed that I am buying and, therefore, not making the healthiest decisions.
- Shoes on in the car or in bedrooms– I don’t know what it is about my mornings, but the last two minutes of getting out the door are the worst. “Shoes On!” I yell about five times as I am trying to ensure the dog has been fed and let out. I have now found that putting shoes on my 20 month old either when I put on her outfit (so that she is then fully ready to go) or once she is in the car helps to save me some stress. My four year old can put his on but it’s like molasses some mornings. So, I started throwing the shoes in the car too and making him put them on after he gets buckled in.
All these tips have a common theme: Evening preparation is key! The more prepared we can get the night before, the less stress it could save us. What are some key tips you can share with us? Perhaps you have older kids who refuse to get out of bed? We’d love to hear from you!