Getting you and your family out the door in the morning can be the most chaotic part of your day. It comes down to some simple organizing strategies and routines.
Do as much as you can the night before. Yes, really! Set the table or set out super simple take aways for breakfast, pack the lunches (except cold stuff), have back packs loaded and by the back door, get you and their clothes ready and set your alarm. The less you must do, especially for the non-morning people, the better.
Set up work zones: Landing strip and command center. The landing strip is a spot where you are going to see all the stuff and take it with you. It can be a place with hooks for backpacks and cubbies for shoes, or just an assigned location. (At our home it is the angled section of the back steps!) When you see it, you can easily grab and go! The Command Center is the paper station for the important action papers. Having one spot where the kids papers can be retrieved, your information easily accessed, and a drop slot for bills makes the difference as you head out the door in the morning. No more looking for last minute papers!
Morning and evening routines. Establish and write a list of the routines that your kids and you need to do daily. You may not need a list, but they do! It can be written on the mirror in the bathroom with crayola bath markers or dry erase markers.
Morning routines including dressing, brushing teeth, eating a small something, and then getting out the door. If possible no chores at this time, except feeding the pets or bringing hamper to the laundry room.
Evening routines include homework in backpack at landing strip, clothes out the night before, laundry put away, clothes in hamper, set alarm, read, early to bed. Apply the same to yourself!
Getting up on time depends on going to bed on time. It is harder to get up if you have gone to bed late. Setting a good bedtime for everyone, including yourself, makes a big difference. We all need 8 hours of sleep so set a bedtime that allows for that. Many of my clients take advantage of those late hours for their “playtime.” Resist the urge and get to bed on time for a happier tomorrow!
Build in a little extra time. If it truly takes 15 minutes to walk to school, allow 20 minutes of time. Drive times in Houston can take an extra 15 minutes on any day. We are most stressed when we feel behind or out of control. Allowing some “white space” for travel, getting in the car, and that little something that always goes wrong gives us a better mind set for starting the day. This is the gift of time I have personally given myself. I have a newspaper to read in the car and take a few extra minutes to regroup if I arrive early.
Get everyone on board with the plan and be consistent. A positive approach works best with rewards for catching family members “doing it right.” Host a family meeting where the morning routine and expectations are discussed and finalized.
Getting out of the house can be the hardest part of the day! What strategies are you using to smooth out the bumps?