Ask any parent what the most challenging time of day is, in their family, and they’ll tell you that it’s the early morning hours. The hours between waking up and leaving the house are packed with a multitude of sticking points, from selecting clothing to eating breakfast to getting socks and shoes on. As a result, frazzled parents become even more frazzled, as they anticipate being late to daycare drop-off, and therefore, an early morning meeting. But a few simple strategies can grease the wheels and get your family moving in the morning.
Your child likely knows that every step she takes toward readiness in the morning is a step closer to being dropped off at childcare. While she may love her teachers and her friends, she could be craving just a bit more time with you in the morning, and that might be slowing her down. Try setting aside time to eat breakfast with her, or incorporate a little time to snuggle with a book or a favorite activity. It may require waking up a bit earlier than usual, but you could find that the morning runs more smoothly.
Be realistic about your timing in the morning. How long does brushing one’s teeth take? Three minutes? Perhaps you should build in an extra minute or two for activities that tend to drag on a little longer than anticipated. If you get everyone up a little earlier and allow more time for each activity, everyone will feel less pressured to rush, and the general feeling of stress in your home will be reduced. Plus, you might find that you make it out the door with time to spare.
Remember to incorporate choices into many of your children’s morning activities. Young children are constantly yearning for more control over their lives, and they actually have very little control when it comes to their daily activities and their routines. Offer them a choice of outfits, breakfast options, and even a choice of which music to listen to in the car. This will help them feel more in control. Remember to limit each choice to only two options, three at the most, to avoid decision fatigue.
Have your streamlined your morning routine? Have you motivated your family to move a little more quickly in the morning? Tell us what tricks you’ve employed to get everyone dressed, ready, fed, and out the door each day, in the comments section!