I always thought that as my kiddos got a little older, things would get simpler. Maybe the pace would slow down. I very quickly learned that is not the case in the slightest. My oldest son just started Kindergarten this year and I have two babes in preschool. Our evenings are non-stop and we hit the ground running every morning! Our typical mornings would start with a far too lengthy conversation over breakfast choices, arguments over which shorts and shoes we would wear that day. To bring lunch or not to bring lunch that is the question. And list goes on. Each morning before my feet hit the floor, I would go ahead and take a deep breath because I knew I could count on no less than five temper tantrums that would result in explosive frustration and a forced silent car ride to school.
There had to be a different way. A way to make for a happy morning. If you are joining in on this read, then I imagine you know exactly how I was feeling. I went back to the drawing board to figure this whole things out. I found that the answer was simple. There were several obvious and easy things I could do that made a huge difference!
Here was the biggest thing I was missing. Our morning routine did not need to start that morning. The routine needed to start before the week actually began. My middle child most definitely has middle child syndrome. He is so loving and caring, but he has the biggest temper of them all. And he also has the biggest opinion of the three boys. Getting dressed in the mornings has always been one of our most difficult battles. To evade this battle we prep the wardrobe for all kiddos on Sundays.
For each boy, we have a Monday-Sunday closet organizer for clothes (the ones I use are found here ). Our Sunday evenings now consist of all of us sitting on the rug in their room and picking out each outfit for the upcoming week. This has reduced any arguments over which outfit will be warn. Now each kiddo can go get their own outfit from the day specific slot. They are proud of being independent and they are happy with their selections since they are the ones that picked them out.
This is another task that should not take place the morning of. Planning is what it is all about! After dinner, I read each babe their school lunch option for the next day. I let them decide if they like what the school is serving or if they would like to take their lunch the next day. If they choose to take a lunch, I make all they lunches before we go to bed. Say goodbye to your mornings of making a mad dash through the fridge trying to throw something together when you’re already ten minutes late. The first few days of this were a little tough, I’ll admit. The first morning that two boys had lunch boxes and the third had chosen a school lunch was a bit of a battle. But the rule is, if you do not pack your lunch the night before, you do not get to take your lunch. Stand strong mama! They will learn the house rules and your mornings will quickly be free of the pesky lunch talk!
Holy guacamole! The bed time struggle!! But that is a blog post for another day. I’m still developing the five steps to a scream free bed time! Today, we are talking about mornings. And good mornings start with a good bed time! As in the actual time! I catch myself getting comfy in the evening times and if they kids are quietly doing their own thing, I will letting them slide on going to bed early. This will forever bite me in the rear in the morning. It is so important that kids get adequate rest. Do you ever look at your kids and think man I wish I had their energy? Their little bodies are moving a million miles a minute. They NEED their sleep! Even though some days I feel like I just don’t have enough time between the end of the school day and bedtime for the quality time I desire, I force myself to start bedtime at 7:30 every evening. Some nights they may not actually fall asleep until 8:30 or so, but they are in their beds resting and having quiet time regardless. All three wake up much happier, have better days at school, and even eat their food better when they go to bed on time!
This one is cheesy, but it helps! When I walk in the boys’ room to wake them up, I sing a little wake up song. It’s not a real song. Just a little tune softly sung to let them know it’s wake up time. Waking the kiddos up in a calm, un-rushed manner is key to having smiles out of bed. Once again, our middle son is the toughest to wake up. For those mornings the wake up song doesn’t do the trick, gently rubbing his face usually will get the job done. Whatever you do, bombarding the room and abruptly turning lights on is just plain mean! Give yourself and kiddos a few extra minutes to have a calm wake up time. You will see a dramatic difference!
Do you like to make your own choices? I know when it comes to food I certainly do. And so do my kids. Simply putting a pre-selected breakfast out for them wasn’t creating the happy morning atmosphere I was going for. So in my trial and error I discovered it wasn’t necessarily my food options, it was the options I was allowing them to have, or lack thereof. They like choices. They want to feel that independence. So give it to them. You don’t have to go over board. Each morning before I wake the boys up, I put two options at each seat. Maybe it’s a blueberry muffin and a banana. Or it could be a Nutrigrain verse Pop-Tart for the mornings that life just happens. Either way they get to choose. Some mornings they want both and I’m totally cool with that, especially if it means no fit throwing!
All five of these things seem almost brainless. As you’re reading you may be thinking well duh of course that would help. So here’s my question, why aren’t you doing it? For myself, I felt overwhelmed that I had to do one more thing before bed time. I procrastinated over laundry until the kids were in bed and then found myself exhausted. I thought I was doing them favors by letting them stay up late or sleep an extra five minutes. But the reality was doing the things before bed was so much easier than doing them in the morning. Letting the boys help with laundry was actually help with laundry and made such a difference! I wasn’t doing them any favors by letting them stay up, I was handicapping their whole next day. And that five extra minutes of sleep was not worth the battle that comes with an abrupt wake up. Do yourself and your kids a favor, and don’t do any favors! Create the time to let them help and make choices and see your mornings transform!! The magic is in the planning friend!
If you found this post helpful I hope you check out some of our others. Like how to avoid a toddler lock out (here)!