Picture the ideal morning: You wake up, a Sleeping Beauty smile on your face as birds chirp in your sunlit window. You gracefully don your silk robe and softly kiss your sleeping offspring, who eager leap from their beds and begin dressing themselves. Humming a happy tune and flitting down the clutter-free stairs, you move into the kitchen where you swiftly bag up lunches. The children chatter like best friends as they eat their breakfast, remember to brush their teeth and put their shoes on, and finally gratefully accept their packed lunch before transitioning easily into the car. If this doesn’t sound like a typical morning at your home, it’s probably because you’re normal and sometimes chaos just happens. However, there are some things a working mom can do to help ensure that everyone has a great day, right from the morning routine.
9 tips for a successful morning routine:
- Get a good night’s sleep. Everyone (even mom!) should be getting enough sleep at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, preschoolers need as much as 13 hours of sleep, school aged children need up to 11 hours of sleep, and teens need up to 9.5 hours of sleep. A good night’s sleep is known to improve mood and health, so make sure you’re hitting the sack early enough to guarantee a successful day!
- Plan ahead. Choose everyone’s clothing the night before. It takes just a minute to pull out the next day’s outfits before tucking the kiddos in to bed. You should also plan what you will have for lunch the next day. You are less likely to get fast food for lunch (which is costly and bad for your health) if you have a lunch that you can just grab and go.
- Challenge your kids. To get them to move a little quicker, give them something to do and a limited time to do it in. For example, when my big boy was younger, he took forever to get dressed. He was distracted by toys, he would lose a sock… By the time he finally emerged from his room with all of his clothes on I was agitated at how long he had been dawdling-and that’s no way to begin your day. So we made it into a game. I’d maybe ask him to see if he could be dressed before his favorite song was done playing on iTunes, or we’d set the microwave timer and see if he could be ready in 90 seconds. Whatever you do, make it fun.
- Eat breakfast. I don’t need to tell you that eating breakfast provides you with energy for the day and improves your mood and alertness. But did you know that skipping breakfast may also be related to obesity? So before you race out the door, leave time for a bowl of cereal and a banana.
- Institute rewards (for kiddos). I love sticker and reward charts. They can be found at dollar stores and teacher supply stores. One idea is to set a goal for when you want to leave the house, say 7:00. Each day your children are on task and the family leaves the house on time, they can put a sticker on the chart. When they reach some set number of stickers they get a movie night, frozen yogurt, or some other reward of their choice.
- Leave the mess. The morning will move along at a more steady clip if you aren’t trying to clean up toys and fold laundry at the same time as you are getting yourself and kiddos ready to leave the house.
- Focus on what’s most important: Getting to school and work on time. In the rush of the morning is not the time to pull out your iPhone and check the latest social media posts. Resist the urge to check Facebook! It’s not going anywhere. ?
- Don’t stress. Set the tone for the day by keeping your cool. No mom is perfect. There will be slight hiccups in your day, but don’t let these ruin it for you.
- Kiss and hug. Make sure you part each other on a good note. Some mornings I’ve been particularly irritated with my bog boy for whatever reason. But then I think to myself, “What if this is the last time I’ll see him?” I guarantee you will feel better all day if the last thing you remember telling your child was something sweet, instead of how ticked off you were that he didn’t tell you about that big project due tomorrow. Let your kids and hubs begin their day with no doubt in their mind that you love them.