School is back in full swing. Your kids are back to unwillingly waking up early (in most cases). No more sleeping in, no more lazy mornings, no more pajama days. And we all breath a collective sign of disappointment. At least I do. School mornings in my house are absolutely painful and I dread them like a case of head lice. Yes, it’s really that bad!
As a single, full-time working mom, craziness comes with the territory of any school morning. My boyfriend is at home with me, but he works long days and late nights so I let him sleep as late as possible so that he is alert and awake for his day (with the addition of several Monster energy drinks).
As for me, I am a creature of routine and habit. I work best with a list, a schedule and having a pattern.
Each evening, there is a routine, for my children and myself.
- Showers for the kids
- Lay out clothes for the next morning
- Bedtime routine for the boys – Brush teeth, use the bathroom, bedtime stories, winding down with music
- Shower for me (because 15 extra minutes of sleep in the morning is vital!)
- Lay out my clothes with all of the pertinent accessories for the next day
- Lunches made for the boys as well as myself
- Coffee ready for the morning timer to go off at 6:45am
- TV / movie time with my boyfriend
It’s simple, and I know exactly what I have to do for each day. It takes the stress off of the mornings with getting clothes together, making lunches, etc. So using this method of organization and routine, I decided that the boys are old enough to start having their OWN morning routine. In doing this, THEY are responsible for completing everything they need BEFORE being allowed to use electronics in the morning.
Enter the MORNING ROUTINE MAKEOVER!
I’m a very visual person (hence the constant list making) and to me, it’s the easiest way to implement a new routine. If the boys SEE what they need to do, and if they actively participate in this, the reward is that much sweeter. So, I created a list of things that they need to complete BEFORE they get to use electronics of have their “me time.” Both boys have a pretty similar routine with a few minor exceptions. Each has their own checklist so that they are responsible for their own mornings.
I laminated each sheet and have them posted up on the wall with a dry erase marker attached with Velcro to their sheet. This way, they check off each item as they go and when the list is complete, they are done! It’s visual, it’s simple, it’s individualized. Now we don’t have questions flying around every morning at what still needs to be done. Did you put your lunch in your backpack? Do you have your violin? Did you feed the fish? Why are your clothes in a pile in the middle of the dining room? Their morning routine clears those questions up!
I cannot begin to tell you how much better our mornings are now! Now, this isn’t perfect, and there are still times I tell them to be quiet and not fight. But all around, it is much better than it was and it’s been relatively calm in the mornings. The boys love to check off each task on their routine charts and are excited to tell me when everything is complete!
Now my mornings are easier, and I actually have the time to get ready for my day and I don’t feel rushed and worn out before I even set foot in the office. Our morning routine makeover has been one of the best things for the boys and they feel a sense of accomplishment while learning individual responsibility.
Morning Madness BE GONE!