When it comes to mindful parenting, mornings are my biggest challenge. My husband leaves for work very early so I have to get the kids all packed and ready for school and daycare… while also getting ready for work. Needless to say, morning time is when I most often lose my cool. I have spent many mornings driving into work full of guilt and regret for the way I snapped at my kids. It is not a good feeling. Trying to control myself and be more aware of the situation just wasn’t enough. Kids are button pushers and patience killers. From breakdowns over socks to breakfast battles and those last-minute bathroom trips (of course as we are just about to walk out of the door), staying chill is NOT as easy as it sounds.
I kicked off this school year by making over our entire morning routine. I have been having much fewer crazy-screaming-my-head-off mom moments and a lot more pleasant mornings.
Here are tips to help you keep your cool on busy mornings:
Wake Up Right: As soon as you wake up, drink a big glass of water. Don’t TOUCH your phone, unless it is to turn off your alarm. I like to stay away from technology for the first 30 minutes of my day. Take a few deep breaths, meditate, read a devotional or remind yourself in your head (or out loud) what you have to be grateful for and why you are going to have an awesome day. It helps kick the day off on a positive note.
Get Ready While the Kids Are Sleeping: This has been a serious game-changer for me. It is really difficult to help my kids get ready, while I am trying to blowdry my hair and iron clothes for work. I was all over the place and if my kids had an issue of any kind (which always happens) then it would aggravate me to help them since I had to get ready, too. Now, my goal every morning is to be COMPLETELY ready for work by 6:30am. That means I’m dressed, with makeup on, before they even wake up. This one change in routine has make the biggest difference. Since I am completely ready, I can focus the rest of the morning solely on my kids.
Leave the TV Off: My kids can’t watch any TV in the morning, even when they have extra time. If they get ready really fast for some reason, I have them tidy up their rooms or play in the playroom. I don’t know about you, but TV is a HUGE distraction for my kids and they can barely eat breakfast while it is on. The only time I break this rule is when my son wakes up REALLY early. Sometimes he wakes up at 5:30am, so I let him watch a show on the couch.
Avoid Breakfast Battles: I have been trying to cut added sugars from my diet, but when it comes to my kids it has been a challenge. I simply don’t have time to prep and make homemade breakfasts for them, especially since the stuff I make never tastes good anyway. The foods I was attempting to give them wasn’t cutting it, and we were arguing over breakfast daily. Now I try to find the healthiest options out of the foods that my kids will eat. My daughter is an eggs and pancakes girl, so breakfast for her is easy. My son loves cereal and yogurt, so getting him to make healthy changes has been a bit more difficult. All schools in South Florida are required to offer free breakfast. So my son would just pretend to nibble on what I was giving him, but then raid the school cafeteria before class to load up on chocolate milk and sugar-filled cereals. Ugh.
Together, we found cereals that he liked, while having my nutritional approval. It was NOT easy, and I had to give a bit on the sugar content. We are going through a Great Grains phase right now. He loves the crunchy pecan flavor and says it keeps him full until lunchtime. (which is later now since he is a 2nd grader) With 5 grams of protein and 39 grams of whole grain per serving it is one of the few cereals I don’t mind him eating… that he actually LIKES. A healthy morning routine is a bonus for everyone.
Use Time Blocks: I have set time blocks to make sure the morning goes smoothly. I have a time when I need to be ready, a set time for my kids to be dressed, another time when they need to be finished with breakfast, etc. My son knows by 7:20 he needs to have his socks on, teeth brushed and be ready to go. The morning routine is broken into little segments that is scheduled to the minute and it makes it so much easier to get out the door on time.
Pad Your Leave Time: I have talked about this before. I know I can leave at 7:40 and get everyone where they need to be on time. However, my kids think we have to be out the door by 7:25. This gives meat least 10 extra minutes to work with. This leaves time for last minute breakdowns, bathroom breaks and everyone’s favorite, “I just need to grab one thing!” Now I don’t flip out if they forgot something since they are just kids, and I’ve built in extra time.
There are my tips to help you keep your cool on busy mornings. I have had far fewer crazy mom moments, but I’m not perfect. (7 toddler outfit changes before 7am will drive anyone mad I tell ya!) What are you favorite ways to make your morning routine run smoothly? Be sure to check out Great Grains Cereal and click here for some awesome coupons on Post products!