4 Simple Things To Make Family Mornings Better
Getting a child organised to get out in the mornings can be an absolute nightmare. I’m sure it’s the least favourite time of day for most parents. There’s lots of advice out there to help make this an easier time. But you know yourself and your child better than anyone else. Here are some basic questions and some tips to help evaluate and improve the success of your morning routine:
1. Are you and your child getting enough sleep, so you can cope with early mornings?
2. Are you pushing each other’s buttons?
3. Do you all need more time so you don’t get so stressed? Are you giving your kids enough time to eat (they take around half an hour when they’re young), or get dressed?
4. Do you like a quiet start to the day, or do you like lively music and chat to get you going ?
5. Have you prepared everything you could have the night before? Clothes laid out, lunches made, breakfast things accessible, or whatever you can mange to smooth your routine.
6. Do you have a tendency to bark orders at each other?
My daughter and her husband have innately opposite clocks, meaning, one is a happy, productive night owl, the other, a happy, productive morning person. With my young granddaughter in the mix, mornings usually began on the wrong foot; Mum whizzing around at full speed, Dad, barely able to string a sentence together. The combination of such a fast energy colliding with a slower one often resulted in highly stressful mornings and my granddaughter was frequently caught in the crossfire.
Find out what works best for all of you. In my daughter’s case, she lowered her demands on her sleepy husband in the mornings, asking his contribution be made to prep the night before. They all agreed to make an effort to greet each other with a smile instead of ‘grumpy face’ and to make the first thing they spoke to each other something positive. It was a simple switch that for them made for positive change.
Here are some things you could do to improve your own morning routine:
1. Sit down and organise a routine with your child (if they are old enough to give input). Let your child make a chart or a picture of what they want that morning routine to be.
2. Help your child to feel he has some control over this time of the day, over what to wear, or what to eat (given healthy choices) what he may take to school etc. We tend to simply bark orders at our children in the morning, giving little thought to how we would respond to that!
3. Be as organised as possible the evening before, making sure everything is ready for the morning. Ask y0ur child to participate in that the night before, “Would you like red socks or blue socks tomorrow?” “Shall we look at the weather and choose the best coat and shoes?” “Would you like to tuck a special little toy into your backpack?”
4. Give each other acknowledgements and hugs when you get out the door on time and with smiles on your faces. Affirm, affirm, affirm; “great job in getting your teeth brushed on time!”, “thanks so much to Daddy for making us a lovely lunch” etc.
Let me know about any successes you’ve had with morning routines, or, alternatively, share your struggles, I’ll do my best to help. Happy mornings everyone! Juliet
Written by: Juliet McDonald, ECE