Mornings are fun, aren’t they? Because nothing is more fun that proving you can fit two hours’ worth of things you need to get done in just 20 minutes.
I’d argue that getting out of the house with nothing and no one left behind, all homework done, lunch packed, agenda signed, both left AND right glove located, all without anyone raising their voice, is as rare a gem as the hope diamond. It’s a lofty goal we all share, but making it happen? That’s a feat. Here are a few of the ways I’ve found to make all of our lives a little less hectic in the morning.
1. Give no craps what the kids wear
Honestly, this is just a good life rule. The rule in our house is, as long as it’s weather appropriate, I couldn’t care less if my son’s shirt is backwards or my daughter is wearing a vomitus combination of prints. My life got so much easier when I removed the inevitable fight over clothes out of the morning rush equation. Trust me when I say there are too many other, unavoidable issues you have to deal with in the morning. Don’t make style one of them. Jimmy wants to wear jammies to school? Who cares? Just go with it and get out of the house.
2. Get downstairs before the kids do
I don’t know what it is, but if I’m upstairs, the kids will lollygag until the cows come home. Something about me screaming from downstairs ‘kids! It’s time to get up!’ at the top of my lungs makes them realize stuff is going on in the house and they best get to stepping. As long as I’m not downstairs preparing for the day, they assume they can snooze a bit more.
3. Don’t let them see their lunches
Okay, this one is for families with kids who complain about what is going in the lunch but will actually eat it if it’s the only thing in there. This is a bad idea for kids who demand a say, so keep that in mind. My kids? If they see what’s going into their lunch bags, all of a sudden they have a million requests to amend the contents, which takes more time for them and for me. I want that bag closed so there are no questions asked.
3B. Let them pick their lunches
Because I understand lunches are a pretty mean battle ground, some children do much better if they have a say in what goes into their lunch bags. Problem is, they can take FOREVER to get this done. If you have a kid who wants to be involved in the process, get it done the night before. I know, this is a lofty goal and something we all say we should do anyway. But if you have a kid who wants to help with the process, it is best done the night before because otherwise, it’s going to be a long, drawn out poop show in the morning.
4. The five minute warning
This was life changing for us. I love warnings, in general. Kids do best when they have clear guidelines and I’m downright mean about the five minute warning. All electronics go off, breakfast must be eaten and everything and anything needed for the day needs to be located and procured in that five-minute window before we pack up for the day to get out the door. If your homework is upstairs and you forget to grab it during the five-minute warning, tough. Let this be a lesson learned. One mitt is upstairs on your floor? Well son, this is what we call a natural consequence. Trust me when I say a cold hand or a stern warning for missed homework from a teacher, or being one handed while your other hand needs to be in a cozy coat pocket, will often be enough to make your child use their five-minute warning time more effectively next time.
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In Berlin, almost all children walk to school alone. They use sharp knives to cut their own food and most of them fall asleep in their own beds, by themselves. It would be easy to think of German parenting as being way too hands-off.