Whether our kids are in favor or not, most of us are waving goodby to a carefree summer. Schedule and routine are about to become the norm again. (This is me high-fiving you for surviving another summer.)
With seven kids who need to be ushered out the door before 7:30 am, my family has seen some chaos and every year the goal is to tame a bit more of it.
If you want more tricks for your sleeves, here are eight tips to help your family succeed on school mornings:
1. Learn to be the Morning Director.
As a parent, our mindset needs to shift from the Do-er of All Things to the Director of All Things. We cannot do everything for everyone, but we can oversee those who do do. (Read that out loud to your 4th grader.)*
2. Wake up before the kids.
I used to roll from my bed when I heard cereal bowls clattering. But I have found that being a coherent MD (Morning Director) works better for all of us. Up and at ’em!
3. Start the day with alarm clocks.
If kindergarteners can navigate an iPod, they can probably handle the on/off button of an old-fashioned alarm clock. This starts the day with personal responsibility. A very good place to start.
4. Preassemble outfits.
For kiddos that need a bit of help putting pieces together that say, actually cover all of their bums, put together 5-10 outfits that are parent approved and let them choose one for the day. No sending kids back upstairs to change or rummaging through clothes baskets.
5. Play that funky music.
We parents get to set the tone for the day. Do your kids need to move a little faster? Dance music. Do they need more calm? Piano men. Do they need lots of Jesus? Worship favorites. We are consistently the latter.
6. Assign kitchen duty.
Be clear about morning chores. Who is cooking eggs, loading the dishwasher, taking out garbage? Unclear expectations add to the chaos.
7. Use the clock.
Start and end breakfast at specific times. Set a timer for bathroom grooming. Our van leaves at 7:20, hope you are in it, darling children. It might feel drastic but it just might be worth it.
8. Be prepared with natural consequences.
If kids are slow to get ready, they must be tired enough to go to bed 15 minutes early that night. If they make the family late for school, they get to serve their siblings by doing their breakfast chores. When we are prepared for uncooperative attitudes, the chaos seems to drops a notch.
*If you really think you should be doing All The Things for your kids, visit a kindergarten class and be amazed at All The Things that teacher has those tinies doing. Show me your ways, Great Teacher.
Cheers to all of you hardy parents out there doing the morning routine!
May our systems be efficient and our mugs caffeinated.
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