Regardless of age, getting children up, dressed, fed and out the door without conflict can feel like a herculean task. The experience can be just as maddening even when your children are able to do all of that themselves. For those of you with younger kids, I know you’re thinking, “No way. That would be a dream.” I have one thing to say to that, “just wait until you have a teenager.” And if you have girls, get ready to turn up the morning madness a few levels! The reality is starting the day with this mayhem can negatively impact the entire day.
Do you want to transform morning madness into morning mindfulness, without being a magician?
Here are 4 tips to simplify your morning routine while motivating your daughter to become more self-sufficient.
- Plan ahead:
- Make a list of days your daughter needs to bring or wear something specific to school. Hang it in their room or in a central location (or have them put it there). Get your daughter in the habit of looking at it prior to leaving the house in the morning.
- Go food shopping on Sunday and plan out the week’s meals – lunches and dinners. Want to take it one step further? Create a shopping list along with lunch and/or dinner forms. Your children can fill in what they want. Or make it a checklist so all they have to do is mark the box! Have an older child with a smartphone, use an app where you can share notes/lists!
- Prep the night before.
- Pick out clothing.
- Pack lunch, water and/or a snack.
- Pack the backpack.
- Empower your daughter to handle as much as she can on her own.
- Set her alarm and get up on her own (this can take a whole lot of stress out of the equation for some parents)
- Instead of asking your daughter if they’ve done those important things like brush their hair or teeth, make a checklist of the things you expect before she comes downstairs. At the beginning, it might require you asking her if she’s done them, but hopefully after a couple weeks, it will become a habit.(can you tell I’m a huge fan of lists?!
- Make her own breakfast.
- Have grab & go breakfasts on hand. This is great when your daughter oversleeps, can’t get out of bed or is simply lollygagging the entire morning. It’s also helpful if you typically play the role of the chef and/or the server in the morning (and when you have a daughter who simply isn’t happy with whatever you make for her.) You can do the same with lunches. Hummus and pretzel cups are a savior in my house!
Some of these ideas may seem insignificant, like having your daughter set her alarm instead of you waking them up, but every little thing she does for herself is a gift – and not only because it prevents you from having to do them yourself. It’s a gift for your daughter. As she becomes self-sufficient, she is also building a sense of independence and responsibility. Give these tips a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at how even one simple thing can transform the whole morning dynamic.