As I scroll through Facebook this morning, I’m envious of my friends and their bright and happy faced kids headed back to school. We have an excruciating ten days left before my kids get back on the bus. Historically, this is the week in our house when the wheels come off. In years past we have been nothing short of a disaster. There’s no camp; the sitters are all back to school themselves, and the battle between mom and dad needing to work, and the kids needing to be kids is in full swing. I’m tired just thinking about it.
Over the past few weeks, our routine has become lax. We have stayed up a little too late, rolled over too much in the morning, and generally lost our rhythm. To help ease the pain of those first few weeks of school, I’ve implemented some new (and renewed) strategies to get us up and going every morning, so we have more productive; less stress filled days.
A bad morning has the potential of ruining the entire day. Setting myself and my family up for success is critical and a lot easier than you may think. For me, it all starts the night before. Below my simple tips to rework your morning for the unofficial start of a new year.
Load and Unload
While some people benefit from running their dishwasher before bed and unloading in the morning, I try to run and unload before I go to sleep. Waking up with an empty dishwasher saves me a few extra minutes and makes morning clean up even easier. It’s a game changer for me, and so incredibly simple.
Lay Out Your Clothes
We all know the joy of having your outfit ready the night before. So, why do so many of us still wait until the last minute? Because I usually work out in the early morning, I leave my gym gear on the chair by my bedside. I roll out of bed and into my clothes. For my kids, I have them lay out all of their pieces for the week on Sunday. They wear uniforms, giving us the opportunity to forget or lose lots of extra pieces. All you need to do is miss the bus once because you couldn’t find your knee socks or your school vest and you’ll have no problem getting organized on Sunday.
Set Up EVERYTHING.
The sound of my preprogrammed coffee pot brewing in the morning makes me warm and fuzzy. While it may be a little over the top, I set up everything the night before. I program the coffee machine, pack lunches, fill water bottles, gather sports bags and gear and even lay out breakfast place settings. The sense of organization allows me to navigate the morning in a sleepy haze without forgetting anything. (Which I still do, just not as frequently).
IN THE MORNING
Give Yourself 30 Minutes
I live in constant battle with wanting to sleep as much as I can versus yearning for 30 minutes of quiet. I’ve decided that easing into the day, with my thoughts and a cup of coffee before the rest of the house rises is too good for my soul to miss. So I set my alarm a bit earlier than everyone else. When I put this into practice, I’m happier and more focused all day.
A made bed creates order and calm. I always make my bed before I leave my room. My girls have to do the same thing. They have to make their beds, tidy their rooms and get dressed before they come in for breakfast. As a recovering perfectionist, a kid-made bed would drive me crazy. I would walk past their rooms and have to fight the urge to redo them “the right way”. Now, with a lot of restraint, I’m grateful to have one less thing to do, and appreciate that they get better the more they do it themselves.
Fast but Focused Family Time
Perhaps the best thing that has come from learning routines that work for us is the extra time we have as a family in the morning. With the kids so busy, our days at times frantic, and some weekday dinners done on the fly, the ability to sit and have breakfast together is a real gift. Even with all of this organization, we still only have a few minutes together, but it’s the best way to start my day.
It amazes me that doing these small tasks in the evening takes about 15 minutes. Yet, those same tasks in the morning can take so much longer. Our mornings are far, FAR from perfect, but they are calm, and our routine allows for the unexpected to happen without destroying the rest of our day.
What about you? Share your tips and strategies for better mornings in the comments below: