How to Rush-proof Your Morning Routine with Kids*

Aug 30, 2015 | Latest & Greatest

Here are some great tips on how to manage morning-time, whether you are the grandparent in charge for a day, or a week. Even the parents of your grandchildren can benefit from these few easy suggestions to follow, so pass this along- you can never know too much!
1. Plan the week during the weekend.
We recommend using Saturday and Sunday to get ready for the coming week. Plan and shop for meals, get the laundry done, and decide what the kids will wear to school every day (if they’re not old enough to pick out their own outfits).
2. Prep the night before.
The more you can do before going to bed the night before, the better. Make and pack lunches, lay out clothes for you and the kids, set out the breakfast dishes, and make sure bags are packed and waiting beside the door. Also, make sure that you and your kids turn in on time so you get enough sleep; it’s easier and less stressful to get everything done in the morning when you’re well rested.
3. Get yourself ready first.
Plan to get up at least a half hour earlier than your children so you can be showered and dressed before they get up. Slipping away for “me time” after the kids are awake is virtually impossible in most households
4. Set up a family communication center.
Hunting around for a school permission slip five minutes before you’re supposed to leave is a surefire way to ramp up the morning stress level. That’s why Stacey Crew, author of The Organized Mom, recommends carving out a space (not the cluttered kitchen counter) where you can keep the family calendar, school forms and other papers that need to be acted on in the near future.
5. Involve kids in the morning routine.
“Young children thrive on structure and knowing what the next step is,” says Dr. Mary Alvord, a psychologist in private practice in Rockville and Silver Spring, MD.
For example…
6:15 a.m.: Wake up.
6:30 a.m.: Get dressed.
6:45 a.m.: Eat breakfast.
7:15 a.m.: Brush teeth.
7:30 a.m.: Put on shoes and coat.
6. Make morning tasks fun.
Keeping things light and playful is often the key to getting results from young kids. If your child is competitive, turn getting dressed into a game of who can do it the fastest. Come up with a silly song set to a familiar tune like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (e.g., “Put, Put, Put on Your Shoes”) to encourage your child to move from one task to another.
7. Bend the rules for kids who are not feeling well.
A child who’s not feeling great (but not necessarily sick enough to stay home) often has an especially hard time getting out the door in the morning, so it’s best to make the routine as easy as possible. Skip the usual morning chores and tasks, and let your child rest on the couch until it’s time to go.
8. Schedule time for breakfast and play.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be large or take a long time, but kids should sit down while they eat. Eating while seated at a table and allowing time to eat at a leisurely pace promotes good eating habits. (If your child has a cold, don’t forget to serve extra fluids.) Finally, try to work in 15 minutes of quiet playtime right before your child needs to leave the house. It can serve as a reward for being ready on time.

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