There’s no denying it, mornings are tough. There is SO much to do when you have to get little ones out the door in the morning and you have limited time to do it. Especially when you’re dealing with all the little “dramas” that add up to yet another dramatic, rushed kerfuffle!
So, how do we calm the chaos so all little people get to where they need to go without everyone losing their sh*t at the same time?
Set the scene; If there is ONE piece of parenting advice that has saved my butt literally hundred of times, this is it! Doing as much of the necessary stuff the night before is a life saver. Lunches packed, uniforms out, shoes and socks at the door, breakfast sorted, bags packed. The last minute dash to pack lunches and find Jimmy’s lost left shoe is the LAST thing you need at 8am on a Monday morning!
Understand a Child’s need to PLAY; When I wake in the morning I need a little time to start my brain. Coffee does that job for me, but children need something else. Having TIME TO PLAY is incredibly important to a developing brain and for a child’s ability to deal with the world around them. Play helps with processing, understanding, executive functioning and emotional resilience. If your child is having trouble stopping play to go to school, give them lots of warning, be firm and remind them they can pick up their play as soon as they get home in the afternoon.
Practice the “Parental Pause” – This amazing piece of parenting wisdom comes from The “Queen of Common Sense” the amazing Maggie Dent. When one of my children is having a moment (this morning her shoes didn’t “feel” right) I pause for a moment before responding. MANY, MANY times when I have reacted instead of taking a moment to pause and respond, I have ended up losing my temper and then the morning is well and truly blown. By pausing before I respond to a situation I can usually keep my cool and give my child the empathy they need.
Add Sunshine and Fresh Air; See above point about play, but add the outdoors. It always lifts everyone’s mood!
Music; Music lifts even the dreariest morning. It activates the brain and pretty much makes any situation better. Our morning dance sessions ALWAYS put a smile on my children’s faces. Yes, even the teens!
Make a List; Having a checklist of what everyone needs to do each morning can make life SO much easier. I even write one for myself! Younger children can have a picture list rather than writing if they’re not old enough to read.
Connect; Take a moment to make sure you have a had a chance to connect with each child before they’re off for the day. My teenage son responds to a tousle of the hair and a quick shoulder massage, my primary school-aged daughter loves our singing sessions in the car, my young adult daughter and I share an early morning cup of tea\coffee. How can you connect in a way that acknowledges each child, but doesn’t slow up your routine?