Work, children, school, sports, band, back to school… . If your most hectic time of the day is before 8:30 a.m., then these tips may be the S.O.S. you’ve been looking for!
The hurried feelings and urgency that can rule these early morning hours can ripple over into the rest of your day like dominos. No wonder, according to a University of Maryland study, 85 percent of us feel rushed some or all of the time.
Here are 6 TIPS to Stop Morning Time Crunch Crisis
1) Prepare the night before.
This is a must if you’re going to get on top of the day. Getting ready what you’ll need for the next day the night before will really help lessen the confusion and short tempers that can take a toll on your health and relationships each morning. At last a half-hour before you go to bed at night prepare for the next day: Get your clothes; food for breakfast and lunch, even dinner when possible; everything you need for work or school; items for planned errands, drop-offs and pick-ups; children’s school notes signed; their meals ready; clothes, sports equipment, etc. Preparing the night before will make the morning so much easier on everyone.
2) Be selfish! Take care of yourself first.
Taking care of everyone else before yourself (especially a women’s/mother’s issue) will not get you “points in heaven!” It will however wear you out. Preparing the night before will take care of some of this, but waking up 15 or so minutes earlier and getting yourself ready, ideally while the kids are asleep, will give you that breathing room needed “when” things don’t run smoothly.
3) Organize Your Basics.
My basic organizing information includes the fact that “everything must have a ‘home’.” You will waste much less time searching for the little things when you take care of the basics daily, giving everything a home – a specific, consistent place to “live.” Know where your house and car keys “live.” Have an extra $20 in your wallet in even smaller bills at all times especially if you have children, they may need some of it for a school function. If you wear nylons make sure you always have more than one good pair “just in case.” Make sure any medication is up to date and bottles are never too close to empty before refills. Ask the children daily if they have parent/teacher notes to read or sign or anything that needs to be prepared for the next day. Small measures to take care of the basics will bring so much peace to your mornings immediately. No more, “Where is it?” and “I don’t know!”
4) Keep it simple!
From children’s clothing to breakfast and lunch choices, choose the easiest options, especially during really busy weeks. Buy clothes that are so easy “a child could do it!” Example: Velcro sneakers for them; front buttons and zippers for you. Minimal preparation is the key for breakfast foods, as well as foods the children can get themselves: Like cold cereal, energy bars, and yogurt – healthy and easy. Teach your family to put dishes in the sink or right into the dishwasher as early as possible. Even very small children can do this to help out. Decide how important it is to fix the beds “perfectly” or have all the dishes cleaned before you leave – things like this don’t matter in the big picture and will only create more stress where it’s not necessary.
5) Just say “no” to TV in the morning.
You might consider TV a useful tool to keep kids in one place, but studies show that it’s actually a huge distraction. Leaving the TV off lets everyone focus on the business at hand, communicate without shouting over the TV and finish sooner.
6) Calendar Central.
Don’t let yourself become the “all knowing” person in the house of the appointments and schedules (it’s a set up for victimhood and martyrdom!). Buy a large calendar. Hang it on the refrigerator or wall where everyone, no matter how short or tall, can see it easily. Write in all kids’ appointments, practices, and activities. When you’re doing your night before prepping (see #1 above!), check the calendar. Gather all necessary items – school projects, soccer ball, treats for band, extra socks, violin cases – and put them by the door. You’re ready! When you leave in the morning, just grab everything and go.
Kids get as or more stressed than parents when they feel unorganized, unprepared, out of control and helpless to change it. Being a leader and model for peaceful mornings will be a life-long proactive lesson for your children. Start off of the right foot this school year!