The Not Now Mom’s Busy team keeps getting better! I’m so excited to introduce to you our new contributor Liz Greene. Ladies, if you want to make your mornings run smoother you’re going to love the tips Liz has to share with us today.
Take it away Liz…
Confession time, friends. I am not a morning person – yet everyone at work thinks I am. How do I, a self-confessed night owl, fool an office full of people that there’s nothing I love more than a beautiful sunrise? It’s surprisingly simple.
It’s shockingly easy to organize the little things that make up the morning’s big picture – and once that’s done, your daybreak routine will run smoother than you ever imagined.
Image Credit: Dibsies
The Night Before
So much of a successful morning rests in what you do the night before.
Set aside a slot of time (right before bedtime is good) to prepare for the next morning. Have your children plan an outfit for the next day, take a bath or shower, review their schedule, and pack their backpack. If you’d like, encourage them to make their lunch as well (one less chore for you!)
Designate a spot in the house where all school-related items – backpack, lunch boxes or money, library books, permission slips, etc. – are stored. Have your children place everything that needs to go with them in the morning in this area.
After your little ones are snug in bed, take some time to pack meals and snacks. Then, set out your own clothes, review your next day’s schedule, and gather any items you’ll need for your day.
Time for You
Wake up 15 – 30 minutes before your children so you have some time to shower, relax, drink coffee, exercise, meditate, or do whatever helps ground you and prepare for the day’s activities. Having a little bit of “me” time can do wonders for your psyche.
I didn’t start using an alarm clock until high school. True story.
My mom used to snuggle up in bed with me and stroke my hair to wake me up gently. We’d chat for a few minutes and then I’d get up and get ready. To be honest, I don’t remember waking up in a bad mood until I was fifteen. There’s just something about a blaring alarm that can start me off on the wrong foot.
Consider making early mornings less of a rude awakening for your children by rousing them with a snuggle. Not only will they wake up happier, you get a little bonding time in to start the day.
Image Credit: Summer Black
One of the biggest hurdles in the morning race is getting your kids dressed. Have them get it out of the way first thing by putting their clothes on before they even leave their bedroom – barring a quick potty run if needed.
Breakfast of Champions
My mom was never much of morning person, herself. Breakfast looked less like the bacon and egg dreams on Leave it to Beaver, and more like a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. And you know what, that’s perfectly fine! I still got the protein and healthy carbs I needed to start the day without mom having to spend half of her morning in the kitchen.
Empower your kids to fix their own breakfast by sticking with quick, no-cook options. Place cereal and bowls where kids can reach them. Keep milk, yogurt, cheese, fruit, and healthy breakfast bars accessible on bottom shelves and drawers in the fridge.
Save those delicious hot breakfasts for the weekend when you can all take your time and savor some good home cooking.
Image Credit: Tony Newell
One of my best kept secrets for time management is the five minute alarm I set every morning. This one isn’t for a quick snooze, it’s to remind me that I need to leave soon. A five minute warning is all I need to finish my makeup, put my shoes on, and grab my keys.
Treat Yo’ Selves
There’s nothing quite like the prospect of a reward to motivate both kids and adults. If your family makes it through a whole week getting out of the house on time and in one piece, consider an awesome reward to treat all that good behavior.
Here are some fun ideas to reward five days of great mornings:
- A trip to the park, arcade, bowling alley, or the movies
- A family picnic
- Frozen yogurt!
- Board game night
- A pizza party
- A tour of the local art, history, or science museum
By following these seven steps, not only will you save your sanity, mornings will hold a lot more luster for both you and your children.
Happy sunrises everyone!
Liz Greene is a writer and former HighScope preschool teacher from Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene